The Daily Gamecock

Faculty senate passes changes to CIC majors, debates freedom of expression

President Amiridis and the faculty senate met at the Booker T. Washington Auditorium on March 1, 2023 to address and vote on issues regarding curriculum changes, mental health initiatives and freedom of expression on campus. The senate unanimously voted on changes to credit requirements for College of Information and Communications students. Changes to the faculty manual's section on academic freedom were proposed, especially in regards to protecting LGBTQIA+ students from discrimination at Student Health Services and pharmacies.

The faculty senate voted to restructure credit requirements for the College of Information and Communications students and discussed professors' freedom of expression on Wednesday.

The proposal eliminates 200-level English requirements and reduces the number of business courses students have to take to three credit hours. Formerly, the CIC students were required to take management or marketing on top of Introduction to Economics, and with the proposal, they now only have to complete one of the three. The CIC students will still have to complete 120 credit hours.

Changes to the CIC's curricula were passed unanimously.

In addition to rearranging credits, more classes in the CIC will now fulfill social science credits. For instance, a journalism student may take Hip Hop, Media and Society to fulfill their three-hour requirement for a social science course. Formerly, the CIC social science credits were fulfilled with courses in the College of Arts & Sciences like political science or African American studies. 

Faculty senators also debated proposed changes to the faculty manual’s section on academic freedom, which aims to protect freedom of inquiry for students, faculty and staff at the university.

The proposed change claims the university is responsible to defend students' and faculty’s freedom of inquiry and speech despite one's personal belief that it may be discriminatory. However, the proposal has not yet been passed by the faculty senate.

“I don’t believe we've had a debate about this,” English professor Erik Doxtader said. “And this is a document about having debate.”

Doxtader said the proposal combines freedom of speech with freedom of expression.

“Those are not the same things,” Doxtader said. “This document could be read in such a way through the notion of freedom of expression that a professor in a classroom would not have to recognize the pronouns of a trans student.” 

Doxtader also said the proposal could be interpreted by Student Health Services and pharmacies to deny LGBTQIA+ individuals health care under the reasoning of freedom of expression.

South Carolina currently has no laws protecting LGBTQIA+ people from being excluded from health insurance coverage or certain health care procedures.

The proposal was then postponed to a town hall meeting.


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