Freedom of Conscience

Freedom of conscience means the right to be free to think and believe as you will without the imposition of official coercive power over those beliefs. Differences of opinion are the natural byproducts of a vibrant, free society. At many of our nation’s colleges and universities, however, students are expected to share a single viewpoint on hotly debated, and often highly personal, issues. Mandatory “diversity training,” in which students are instructed in what amounts to an officially-approved ideology, is common. Campus value statements that amount to “loyalty oaths” abound on college campuses as well, with students subject to disciplinary charges for failing to demonstrate a proper commitment to the university’s values. Just as universities can’t tell students what they can’t say, they can’t tell students what they must say, much less what they must think.