FMU Pres. Carter Calls on Graduates to Defend Academic Freedom in Fall 2022 Grad Speech
Francis Marion University (FMU) President Fred Carter's Fall 2022 Commencement speech focused on the accomplishments of students and the role they play in defending academic freedom. In the speech (attached below), Carter reminded graduates that academic freedom is an "important condition necessary for this faculty--or any faculty--to provide a responsible education" and that political and special interest group pressures are negatively affecting that academic freedom. He asked students to take up the "good fight" against such pressures.
When you hear that pressure is applied to universities to influence what we can and cannot teach, help us by pushing back – hard. The quality of this country’s future leadership, and the education of your children and grandchildren, depends upon independent and unconstrained voices within its universities. If we ever lose that freedom, then we will have lost much of the essence of democracy… most especially its conscience.
Carter, who is the recipient of the inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award from the AAUP-SC granted earlier in 2022, has been a long-standing and vocal supporter of academic freedom on the state and national level and a staunch supporter of AAUP's involvement on FMU's campus.