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.