CRT censorship bill progresses in SC House

There are several prefilled bills currently being considered by the South Carolina House Committee on Education and Public Works, all of them directed at various aspects of curriculum content, including Critical Race Theory (CRT). Five bills address this amorphous issue: H. 4325, H. 4343, H. 4392, H. 4605, and H. 4799. Three of those bills, H. 4343, H. 4392, and H. 4605, are specifically directed at K-12. Some of these bills are internally incongruent; others repeat or contradict each other. H. 4605 has only five sponsors; while it may be “dead”, the Committee could still take language from it to make a new one.

These bills are fundamentally different from the anti-tenure bill (H. 4522, see our post below), in that the anti-tenure bill had no precedent and attracted limited support. These bills also claim to respond to parental concerns. Of those bills that are still progressing through the House, H. 4799 appears to be the most threatening; in addition to prohibiting discussion on a number of topics, it also has significant enforcement mechanisms and a whistle-blower provision. The Education and Public Works Committee met on 26 January as a committee of the whole to gauge support and to potentially combine some of those bills. You may watch that meeting here.

As with the strategy for the Tenure bill, AAUP-SC is communicating with partners and allies in higher education across the state and in the Assembly. Meanwhile, the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education (SC CHE) and 14 University presidents, including our own Dr. Mike Benson, sent a signed statement to the Education and Public Works Committee (see PDF below), supporting diversity in teaching and academic freedom.  The AAUP-SC has endorsed that statement and elaborated (see PDF below). Your AAUP-SC will continue to monitor, communicate, and engage on this and other critical topics.


Author: Joseph Fitsanakis

Professor, Intelligence and Security Studies program, Coastal Carolina University