Last month, the AHA issued a statement strongly opposing a move by Michigan state legislators to prevent students from earning credit through internships at certain institutions that happen to be engaged in protests against any Michigan business. The AHA maintains that “The proposed law would, in short, make illegal the gathering of information, or even learning how to gather information, in cooperation with a group that seeks to inform public debate.”
In a June 6 editorial, the Detroit Free Press noted the internship provision “not only interferes with universities’ autonomy in making their own decisions about what groups they work with, but also appears to violate First Amendment protections in the U.S. Constitution.”
We are extremely disappointed that this attack on academic freedom, indeed on freedom in general, remains a part of the state budget recently passed by the Michigan legislature. We hope that Governor Rick Snyder recognizes the intrusive nature of the internship provision and refuses to sign any budget that institutionalizes government interference in teaching and students’ pursuit of knowledge.