Clemson University officials, concerned about the “optics” of ignoring a South Carolina law requiring public colleges to teach the U.S. Constitution, have lobbied the state Legislature to repeal the requirement.
Clemson both refuses to comply with the existing law and opposes a bill in the South Carolina General Assembly to update it, according to emails between the university’s provost and two lobbyists for the school.
In an email to Clemson’s lobbyists at the General Assembly sent April 2, 2019, Provost Robert Jones instructed them to “kill” the legislation updating the law.
This email and others were obtained through a request for public documents under South Carolina’s Freedom of Information Act.
For 96 years, South Carolina law has required public colleges to mandate that students take a yearlong class on the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and the Federalist Papers.
But most colleges in South Carolina, including Clemson, violate the law by not requiring students to take a class on America’s founding documents, according to the state’s Commission on Higher Education. (A separate state law applies to high schools.)
Instead of complying with the law’s requirement of a yearlong class, Clemson pretends to comply by having students watch a short online video about the Constitution as part of its freshman course CU 1000.
Under this dubious logic, Clemson, the second-largest university in South Carolina, could claim to teach chemistry by having students watch an online episode of “Bill Nye the Science Guy.”
Repealing Mandate for Colleges
Angie Leidinger, a taxpayer-funded lobb