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Academic Rights Push Forward in the House By: Students For Academic Freedom
FrontPageMagazine.com | Friday, July 29, 2005

The academic freedom movement took a significant step forward last week when the US House Education and Workforce Committee passed HR 609, the "College Access and Opportunity Act of 2005," which contains a provision for an academic bill of rights.

The academic freedom provisions in HR 609 were inspired by the Academic Bill of Rights. (The Academic Bill of Rights and a list of national and state legislation currently under consideration is available on the organization’s website: www.StudentsForAcademicFreedom.org.) These provisions state in part that, "an institution of higher education should ensure that a student attending such institution on a full- or part-time basis is evaluated solely on the basis of their reasoned answers and knowledge of the subjects and disciplines they study and without regard to their political, ideological, or religious beliefs" and that students should be exposed to "diverse approaches and dissenting sources and viewpoints within the instructional setting."

Additional support for the academic freedom language in HR 609 was provided last month when the American Council on Education in conjunction with 27 additional higher education organizations released a statement calling for universities to take steps to protect "intellectual pluralism and the free exchange of ideas."

Commenting on the passage of the bill through Committee last week, Horowitz said, "I want to thank the leadership of Congressmen John Boehner, Howard "Buck" McKeon, and Jack Kingston. Even though the Democratic members of the Committee put up a determined fight to remove the language from the "College Access and Opportunity Act of 2005," the supporters of freedom and free speech held firm and in doing so scored a significant victory for every college student in America."

Horowitz added, "This is sending a clear message to professors and administrators across the country that it is no longer acceptable to discriminate against students for their political and personal beliefs."

The "College Access and Opportunity Act of 2005" is expected to be taken up by the full House before the summer recess. A companion bill will begin moving through the Senate soon.

For more information, please contact Elizabeth Ruiz at 1-800-752-6562, extension 202.

Students for Academic Freedom was founded by David Horowitz to fight for academic diversity on America's college campuses.

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