Nearly 700 Professors Protest a Bill Requiring Students to Study the Constitution

(National Archives via AP)

Is it a good idea for college students to understand the Constitution? Not necessarily, according to an alliance of academics.

The North Carolina state legislature has proposed a bill mandating that major government documents be studied by secondary education students.


An official summary dated March 21st describes House Bill 96:

State law does not currently set higher education graduation requirements. … HB 96 would require students to earn three credit hours of instruction in American History or American Government in order to graduate from a constituent institution of The University of North Carolina with a baccalaureate degree or from a community college with an associate degree. In order to satisfy this requirement, the course must meet the following requirements:

  • Provide a comprehensive overview of the major events and turning points of American history and government.
  • Require each student to read at least the following documents in their entirety:
    1. The Constitution of the United States of America.
    2. The Declaration of Independence.
    3. The Emancipation Proclamation.
    4. At least five essays from the Federalist Papers, as determined by the instructor.
    5. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Letter from Birmingham Jail.
    6. The Gettysburg Address.
  • Include a cumulative final exam that makes up at least 20% of the total course grade on the principles, author perspectives, and relevant historic contexts of the required documents.

Seem reasonable? It’s doesn’t to 676 University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill instructors, all of whom signed a letter posted to school paper The Daily Tar Heel. Per the missive, teachers “are alarmed by the interference and overreach of the North Carolina legislature, the UNC System Board of Governors, and the UNC-Chapel Hill Board of Trustees.” Passage of the bill, they say, will “further damage the reputation of UNC and the state of North Carolina.”


The professors are pro-freedom:

[T]he bill would prescribe what is taught in this course and even determine much of the content and weight of its final exam. H.B. 96 violates core principles of academic freedom. It substitutes ideological force-feeding for the intellectual expertise of faculty.

Those experts call to a “Board of Governors’ ongoing assault on diversity, equity and inclusion efforts at UNC schools.”

The Board presumes to dictate what words are acceptable in any discussions with prospective students, employees, or incoming faculty. Led by people apparently opposed to equity and made uncomfortable by the concept of inclusion, these anti-DEI efforts violate the First Amendment and interfere with the unfettered pursuit of truth and enlightenment.

The staunch resistance is perhaps a bold choice, in light of what many consider an aggressive plummeting of college graduates’ grasp of politics, government, and history. For instance, many educated young Americans appear to believe “hate speech” is illegal. Additionally, they look to have little understanding of capitalism and its opposing forms of governance. Some claim that, under socialism, they would suddenly co-own the company for which they work.

Then again, maybe the letter is right in step with our revolutionary re-routing. Colorblindness as espoused by Martin Luther King, along with meritocracy, have fallen out of favor. And college looks to have taken on an all-new mission. Knowledge acquisition may no longer be the point:


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College Schools Students and Staff on Microaggressions’ ‘Death by a Thousand Cuts’ and the ‘Myth of Meritocracy’

Princeton Course Claims the ‘Far Right’ Abuses Liberty to ‘Justify Hate Speech’

University Suspends the ‘American Club’ After It Claims ‘You Are Either a Man or a Woman’

Spread Love: State University Hosts ‘BANG’ Sex Series, Celebrates Shame-Free Sodomy

Tennessee University Segregates Students for ‘Antiracism’ Training, Hails the Absence of White People as ‘Magical’

The UNC-Chapel Hill professors refer to a 2022 study which determined “UNC needs leadership that ‘respects faculty expertise, that observes widely accepted principles of academic governance, that protects academic inquiry from political pressures and constraints, and that is willing to do more than simply pay lip service to the idea of equity.'” That investigation probed “shared governance, academic freedom, and institutional racism at UNC.”

[O]ur leaders continue to disregard campus autonomy, attack the expertise and independence of world-class faculty, and seek to force students’ educations into pre-approved ideological containers.


Is the problem with public education a lack of freedom in the classroom? Or is it a lack of education? Either way, nearly 700 educational professionals in North Carolina might prefer to school students on something other than — necessarily — the Constitution.



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