For Immediate Release
May 13, 2014

We are disappointed in the Senate action, which undermines freedom of thought and expression as well as academic freedom in our state. While no one could oppose closer study of the Constitution and other founding documents of our democracy, today's Senate action violates the spirit of the First Amendment.

The First Amendment guarantees that government has no power to restrict expression because of its message, its ideas, its subject matter, or its content. It rests on the principle that the government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society, or some part of it, finds the idea itself offensive or disagreeable.

Protecting academic freedom should matter to all of us, not only to college professors. If South Carolina students are to become contributing citizens in the 21st century, they must have freedom to inquire, think critically, and evaluate. If they only read books that confirm or reinforce what they already believe, they cannot learn.

Students in South Carolina are already free to agree or disagree with what they read and hear in a university setting. The budget amendment approved today by the South Carolina Senate is a step backwards for higher education and academic freedom in our state.