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  • Washington Highlights

    AAMC Joins Higher Education Statement on the Importance of Academic Freedom


    Matthew Shick, Sr. Director, Gov't Relations & Regulatory Affairs

    In response to a number of state legislatures that have passed or are considering bills limiting or banning outright the teaching of concepts that elected officials regard as divisive, particularly critical race theory, the AAMC joined more than 90 higher education groups in a March 3 statement on the importance of preserving free and open academic inquiry and debate on campus.

    The statement, led by the American Council on Education (ACE) read, “To best serve American society, higher education institutions are committed to transparent intellectual inquiry and academic excellence, free speech, and civil discourse. It is incumbent on our governmental institutions to share and support this commitment.”

    In an introduction to the statement, ACE noted, “Although the focus has mainly been at the K-12 level, higher education is likely to be targeted as the midterm elections approach.” PEN America reported that three states — Idaho, Iowa, and Oklahoma — have passed “educational gag order” legislation specifically aimed at higher education in 2021, and it is now tracking over 100 gag order bills that could impact public colleges and universities.