Commentary: Political interference is serious threat to higher education in South Carolina

Ian Grenier
Daily Gamecock

Excerpt: In 2021, Republican politicians and public officials constantly tried to interfere with academic operations at South Carolina’s universities. This trend, which does not seem to be slowing, is a dangerous threat to academic freedom in South Carolina. In one example of this interference, Gov. Henry McMaster signed the “REACH Act” into law in April. This bill, which had been bounced around the state legislature for years, mandates that state universities require their students to take a class that teaches certain aspects of American history, including the country’s “founding documents.”

This threat is clearly shown by the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education’s (CHE) recent move to request section-specific syllabuses from USC and other universities to ensure compliance with the REACH Act. By trying to interfere in USC’s operations through bills like the Republican-sponsored REACH Act, Republicans are hoping to stop professors from teaching ideas that might stand against the GOP’s hard-right politics.