Open Letter on Academic Freedom to Teach about Race and Gender Justice

January 07, 2022 / PSU-AAUP

Petition by University and College Faculty

As educators, we know that the proliferation of “divisive concepts” bills enacted in eleven states and introduced in over a dozen more must be condemned in the strongest of terms. As previously articulated by the American Association of University Professors, the American Historical Association, the Association of American Colleges and Universities, and PEN America in their June 16, 2021 joint letter signed on by over 149 additional organizations, this repressive legislation is nothing more than “an infringement on the right of faculty to teach and students to learn.” We cannot allow partisan politicians to dictate what can and cannot be taught in our classrooms over the professional judgment of college and university faculty.

We write now to urge those in higher education to take the next step in voicing our strongest opposition to these attempts to censor classroom discussions of structural racism, sexism, and inequalities that permeate our society. We must push back against these insidious censorship bills by calling upon our institutions of higher learning to respect and support open and candid dialogue about our shared history and present-day conditions. We must also work in solidarity with K-12 teachers who are on the front-line of attack in states where such legislation has passed, and who are subjected to harassment, firing, and license decertification, even for those suspected of teaching “divisive concepts.” We must support K-12 teachers organizing against these regressive bills, like Black Lives Matter at School and those who have pledged to #TeachTruth.

Read more and Sign Today!

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