South Carolina State Senator Wes Climer has written a letter to the Winthrop University Board of Trustees in support of retired Winthrop Library Dean Mark Herring. Herring had an op-ed column censored by the University’s Administration earlier this year for his use of the term ‘Wuhan Virus.’
In the letter Climer notes that Provost Dr. Adrienne McCormick censored the work of Dr. Herring and had it removed from the University’s Digital Commons, in addition to expressing condemnatory judgement about his article in a memo to the University’s faculty and in a virtual staff conference.
“Dr. McCormick’s behavior indicates a suffocating degree of intellectual intolerance from the University’s senior academic administrator. It would be one thing for McCormick to debate the merits of another faculty member’s work, but it is quite another to unilaterally condemn and censor material with which she disagrees.
Dr. McCormick’s intolerance cannot stand. I call on you and the University’s Board of Trustees to remedy Dr. McCormick’s assault on academic freedom by apologizing on behalf of the University to Dr. Herring for his mistreatment, restoring Dr. Herring’s work to the University’s Digital Commons, and, most importantly, publicly reiterating the Board’s commitment to fostering and celebrating diversity of opinion and thought, without which Winthrop would be no more than a collection of stately buildings masquerading as an institution of higher learning.
Finally if Dr. McCormick proves unable to embrace diversity of thought as a guiding principle of the University’s academic program, then the Board has a duty to install a Provost who will.”
At an event this evening hosted by the York County Republican Party, Climer said people need to stand up for academic expression, freedom of expression and intellectual diversity, especially on University campuses.
“I have been in contact with Winthrop’s Board and have written them a letter. The Board of Trustees come before the General Assembly for election and I believe after having sent that letter each of the Trustees will have no interest coming to see me unless they rectify the situation.
I’d also say that you the taxpayer send about $20 million to Winthrop every year for their budget and I am very much uncomfortable asking you to go out and work and earn money and pay taxes and send it to an institution that tramples on the rights of free expression in the way that they have done with Dr. Herring.”
Winthrop University declined to comment at this time.
The original story can be found here.