Press Releases | Intellectual Diversity

U of M Regents Must Protect Students’ First Amendment Rights

ACTA calls on board to prevent the adoption of politicized teacher ed reforms
December 17, 2009

WASHINGTON, D.C.—As the controversy surrounding the proposed reforms of the University of Minnesota’s teacher education program continues to grow, the American Council of Trustees and Alumni has called on the university’s Board of Regents to make sure there is no political litmus test for future teachers.

In a letter sent to each member of the board, ACTA president Anne D. Neal reminded the regents that they “should ensure that no part of the teacher education program threatens students’ First Amendment rights or freedom of conscience.”

ACTA joined the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education in denouncing the recommendations of the Teacher Education Redesign Initiative’s Race, Culture, Class, and Gender Task Group as inimical to the First Amendment and the free exchange of ideas. The proposed reforms would mandate certain viewpoints on controversial issues for future teachers.

“As a public university, the University of Minnesota is bound by the First Amendment,” Neal explained. “And the Board of Regents is responsible for ensuring that the university complies with this obligation.”

“It is particularly important that the board take action since university administrators have denied that there is anything wrong with these unacceptable proposals,” she added.

The American Council of Trustees and Alumni is an independent non-profit dedicated to academic freedom, academic excellence, and accountability. Since its founding in 1995, ACTA has counseled boards, educated the public and published reports about such issues as good governance, historical literacy, core curricula, the free exchange of ideas, and accreditation in higher education.


Launched in 1995, we are the only organization that works with alumni, donors, trustees, and education leaders across the United States to support liberal arts education, uphold high academic standards, safeguard the free exchange of ideas on campus, and ensure that the next generation receives an intellectually rich, high-quality college education at an affordable price.

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