University of South Carolina: Mandated Orthodoxy in the Classroom

Category: Free Speech, Freedom of Conscience
Schools: University of South Carolina Columbia

FIRE protested University of South Carolina Professor Lynn Weber’s imposition of a political litmus test in order to succeed in “Women’s Studies 797: Seminar in Women’s Studies,” which was required of students who sought to earn a graduate certificate in Women’s Studies. Professor Weber’s “Guidelines for Classroom Discussion” required students to “acknowledge that racism, classism, sexism, heterosexism, and other institutionalized forms of oppression exist” and agree that “we are all systematically taught misinformation about our own group and about members of other groups.” The guidelines amounted to a loyalty oath to the professor’s ideology. USC President Andrew A. Sorensen defended them, however, because to him they were not “rules” but merely a way to promote “civility.” Many other professors nationwide, however, have adopted Weber’s assumptions as “rules,” threatening the academic freedom and freedom of conscience of their students.

  • University of South Carolina Mandates Political Indoctrination and Orthodoxy

    May 13, 2002

    May 13, 2002 University of South Carolina Mandates Political Indoctrination and Orthodoxy COLUMBIA, SC—The University of South Carolina (USC), in a required course for a degree-granting program, has adopted “Guidelines for Classroom Discussion” that demand adherence to a narrow set of partisan political assumptions—on pain of being graded poorly for honest disagreement. Although USC is a public institution, bound by the First Amendment, it has created an ideological “loyalty oath” that constitutes a profound threat to both freedom of speech and freedom of conscience in South Carolina and across the country. The course—”Women’s Studies 797: Seminar in Women’s Studies”—is listed […]

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  • FIRE’s Letter to USC President John M. Palms

    April 25, 2002

    April 25, 2002 John M. Palms, President University of South Carolina 206 Osborne Administration Building Columbia, SC 29208 Sent via U.S. Mail and Facsimile (803-777-1220) Dear President Palms, The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) unites leaders in the fields of civil rights and civil liberties, scholars, journalists, and public intellectuals across the political and ideological spectrum on behalf of liberty, legal equality, academic freedom, due process, freedom of speech, and conscience on America’s college campuses. Our web page,, will give you a greater sense of our identity and activities. FIRE is profoundly concerned by the threat to […]

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