Academic Freedom News · 16 March 2004

March 16, 2004

As state legislatures across the country take up the Academic Bill of Rights, the academic freedom campaign is chalking up one victory after another.

On March 9th, the Senate Education Committee of Georgia, unanimously passed a resolution based on our bill. The bi-partisan support for the resolution sends a clear message to professors and administrators that the American public is fed up with the political abuse of their universities and students, and change is coming.

In Colorado, where a resolution based on the Bill has already passed, the state house will be voting on Representative Shawn Mitchell's bill shortly. The bill was given a boost during the hearing before the Colorado House Education Committee, when Ian Van Buskirk, a student at the University of Colorado, was verbally accosted by Tim Gould, a philosophy professor at Metro State in Denver. Because Ian had welcomed the crimp this would put in the left's use of the university as a political soapbox, Gould threatened him, "I will sue your f---ing ass." The seen was witnessed by legislators, press and over 100 members of the general public. "The very reason why this bill is necessary is what we just witnessed," said Rep. Keith King, R-Colorado Springs. "A professor intimidated a student for his comments in a forceful, harassing manner - exactly the reason for this bill to move forward."

We are also gaining the support of leftist administrators. At Brown University, once notorious for its political intolerance, the Director of Institutional Diversity, Brenda Allen, has welcomed the inclusion of "intellectual diversity" in her portfolio. Provost Allen helped fund an outside speaker for Brown's College Republicans when the leftist student government turned them down.

Oklahoma is now the ninth state where legislators have expressed interest in the Academic Bill of Rights. This comes as no surprise since College Republicans at the University of Oklahoma found that of 323 professors surveyed only 7.1% were registered as Republicans, an indication of intolerance in the hiring process. When the students presented their survey to the University of Oklahoma administration they were told "there's no problem." OU's president is former Democratic Senator David Boren.

Some Current Developments:

- Congressman Jack Kingston's resolution based on the Academic Bill of Rights has been assigned to the House Education and Workforce Committee. This is the first step towards a U.S. House vote on the Bill.

- In Missouri Senate Majority Leader Peter Kinder of introduced the Academic Bill of Rights as a concurrent resolution, which will pass through the Senate and then move into the Missouri State House. This is the third state where actual legislation has been introduced. There will be many more to come.

Some Current Agendas:

- We are also investigating some problems that have surfaced at Binghamton University in New York. According to Michelle Gross, Chair of the College Republicans, the CRs receive no funding from the university and even after three years of repeated requests the CR's have never been given office space in the student union. Yet the university has found plenty of space and money for the College Democrats. This is the same university that paid to bring convicted felon and former Black Panther Dhoruba Bin Wahad as a speaker to campus.

- At Emory University, Students for Academic Freedom and the College Republicans are trying to bring David Horowitz to campus for a return speech. Their request for funding was blocked by five Emory deans and administrators who descended on the College Council and intimidated them from supplying the funds. Emory has been host to Black Panther and self-confessed gangster, Elaine Brown and to Jello Biafra who received $7500 for a speech

Yours in the struggle,

Bradley Shipp
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