Carter Comments on Supreme Court Ruling

In a recent op-ed, President Carter takes issue with the Supreme Court’s ban on race-based preferential treatment in college admissions.

Indicating that FMU will not change its practices, he writes, “If there are students who need a little more help than others because of disadvantages or encumbrances in their lives, this is the school where they’ll get it–without explanations or apologies.”

Access the October 12 op-ed through the Post & Courier’s website or view an image of the article on

President’s Message

Greetings AAUP-FM Members,

The AAUP-FM has been busy with legislation in the Assembly via the AAUP-SC, the Fall and Spring Fora, issues concerning salary, equity for contingent faculty, the future of the Provost/Dean position in CLA, and a few confidential issues concerning faculty.

Bills Aimed at Higher Education

All of the pre-filed bills in both chambers directed at higher education are getting no traction and attracting only 105 sponsors.  These bills included more anti-CRT, an attempt to make college campuses free speech zones (for any kind of speech by anyone), and another swipe at tenure. We suspect that these bills have a secondary purpose: to target moderate Republicans in the next primary.

DEI: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Attack

Earlier in the semester, a member of the SC House requested all spending in public higher education for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.  Some of the wording in this request was copied and pasted directly from the Manhattan Institute’s policy webpage, “Abolish DEI Bureaucracies and Restore Colorblind Equality in Public Universities”, authored by Christopher Rufo, Ilya Shapiro, and Matt Beienburg. See Proposal 1, C. 3-5. You might remember that Rufo ignited the anti-CRT attacks and was recently installed on the Board at the New College this January.

During our Spring Break, the Assembly was working to reconcile the budget.  During those session, members of the Freedom Caucus tried to push several DEI provisos, using the recently submitted budget for DEI. All of these provisos were ruled “dilatory,” and may cause the moderate Republicans to pass a rule or legislation preventing the abuse of the legislative process.  The FC is using reconciliation on the budget to introduce legislation that they cannot otherwise get passed.  It’s not the first time.

The AAUP-SC has prepared a statement supporting DEI, but will not release it until a DEI bill is pre-filed.  We do not want to give the FC any play.

Connecting with the NAACP at FMU

At the beginning of the semester, I gave a short presentation to the FMU Chapter of the NAACP. If attacks on academic freedom become more successful, our students can join our efforts by providing powerful testimony and networking with other chapters.  The AAUP-SC currently collaborates with the ACLU, Anti-Defamation League, and the NAACP, among others, when our missions overlap.

More Anti-CRT in Public Schools

With 24 sponsors from the “Freedom Caucus”, H. 3728 is another gag order.  In support of our K-12 colleagues, the AAUP-SC Conference submitted testimony during Spring Break against H. 3728 with the Orwellian title: “Transparency and Integrity in Education Act.”

On the Horizon for AAUP-FM

On the AAUP-FM Horizon, the AAUP University Introduction Seminar is tentatively set for September 8 at 4:00 pm. The Fall Forum is tentatively set for September, 13 at 3:45PM. We are still working on the details with the President and the Provost-Elect.

There’s plenty of good work to be done through our Chapter and the Conference. Please, join the effort and encourage our colleagues to do the same.

Hope to see you at the Spring Forum on March 30 in the Chapman Auditorium followed by a dandy Reception in Honors. RSVP Elizabeth if you have not already: Elizabeth Sadler Shefton [email protected].

As always, thank you for being an AAUP member.  If you have any questions, drop by my office or shoot me an email.

In Solidarity,


Hopla Advocates for Statewide Healthcare

AAUP-FM member Deb Hopla has been working hard to improve healthcare in our state. As a board member of the Coalition for Access to Healthcare, she has been lobbying for Senate Bill 553, which allows full practice authority (FPA) for Nurse Practitioners and Certified Nurse Midwives. If the policy is adopted, South Carolina would join the other 27 states–plus the VA system, Washington DC, and Guam–that already have instituted FPA.

Hopla received the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) advocacy award this year for her work on behalf of nurse practitioners and their patients.

“Nurse Practitioners are the future to the healthcare crisis,” argues Hopla, “and SC currently has a ranking of 37 out of 50 states for overall healthcare. Unfortunately SC also ranks number 8 in maternal deaths. We must make a change in the way healthcare can be delivered.”

FM faculty members can take action by contacting senators and expressing support for the bill.

Join Us for the SC State AAUP Meeting

The AAUP-SC state Conference will hold its annual meeting on Saturday, April 1, 2023 from 9 am to 2:30 pm. Join us to meet faculty from around the state and to work on pressing issues.

This meeting will be hybrid: in person at South Carolina State University in Orangeburg and online. Continental breakfast and lunch are included for in-person attendees. To join the online meeting, email Shawn Smolen-Morten or Christine Masters-Wheeler for the links.

The agenda includes SC officer elections for president, vice-president, and treasurer; a business meeting; an update on SC legislation, including tenure, “transparency,” and K-12 support; and DEI and other national issues.

Officers Elected for 2023-2024

During our Spring 2023 chapter meeting, we elected the following members to serve on the executive committee during the upcoming academic year. Congratulations, new officers!

Pres.                    Shawn Smolen-Morton

Vice-Pres.           Christine Masters-Wheeler

Secretary            Nathan Flowers

Treasurer           Kathy McCoy

At-large              Steven Sims

At-large              Adam Houle

At-large              Deb Hopla

Commencement Speech Defends Academic Freedom

During the Fall 2022 commencement ceremonies, Francis Marion President Fred Carter asked attendees to recognize the important role that academic freedom plays in providing high-quality education. Carter’s remarks weigh in on the current political climate that has been increasingly hostile towards the rights of faculty members to determine what they teach. Below we share Dr. Carter’s remarks, which he delivered at the commencement for Education and the Liberal Arts on Saturday, December 17, 2022.

Distinguished Guests, Faculty, and Graduates,

Welcome to the fall commencement for the Class of 2022. It is a beautiful day and the perfect occasion to celebrate our new graduates. We have had two ceremonies this weekend. Last night we conferred degrees in Health Sciences and Business, and this morning we will confer degrees in Education and the Liberal Arts.

But let me begin me by describing this graduating class. Across the two ceremonies, 247 will graduate: 189 undergraduates and 58 graduate students. Among the undergraduates, 22 will graduate with Latin honors and 2 with university honors. The average age of this class is 26 years, with the youngest member 20 years old and the oldest 55. Two hundred thirty-seven of the 247 are from South Carolina–96%. Every graduation, I am delighted at the large number of in-state students educated here. And just a brief note to our legislators in attendance, this university continues to be the best educational investment in the state.

As the provost mentioned earlier, commencement is the most important event on the university calendar. It is a joyous occasion, but also a reverent one. It’s a time for celebrating your educational success at the same time that you anticipate future opportunities and maybe even a few challenges.

Every graduate here knows what you have accomplished. You don’t need me to stand here and tell you this. Now you just have to decide how you can most effectively apply it. This process could take you a few minutes, a few years, or even a few decades. Yeah, I know your parents groan at this. But listen to me–don’t be in a rush. One of the benefits of acquiring a university education is that it allows you to be more discerning about who you are, what you believe, and the life you’ll pursue. This is especially true in today’s society with its politically and socially charged undercurrents.

In just a few minutes, you will be holding a baccalaureate, a master’s, a specialist, or a doctoral diploma. Let me remind you, that degree, once earned, can never be taken away. In our society, your education defines you, not only as a person who has acquired knowledge but as one who will continue to pursue intellectual development throughout life. Over time, many graduates discover that the love of learning is even more gratifying than the acquisition of the knowledge itself. This learning business can be very addictive, you know. Just ask our friends on the faculty.

Of course, much of the success celebrated here today is derived from the wisdom and knowledge of this faculty. They have devoted their careers to university teaching, research, and service. They planned, developed, and taught your curriculum. They nurtured your intellectual and scholarly growth. And no one here takes greater pride in your accomplishments than they do–except, of course, your family. But I do want you to understand an important condition necessary for this faculty, or any faculty, to provide a responsible education. They must have the right to speak and teach freely without encumbrances or constraints. And you, our students, must have the ability to learn unconditionally.

…the quality of the education and the value of the degree is dependent upon professors who have the freedom to teach without intimidation, without threat, and without coercion.

Dr. Luther F. Carter, President, Francis Marion University

Just a couple of moments ago, I mentioned the socially and politically charged environment with which we all deal today. Well, universities across the country have been adversely affected by this over the past couple of years. We have faced pressures over curricular matters–what should or shouldn’t be taught, what instructional materials should be used, where academic responsibility should properly reside. Much of this pressure comes from special interest groups working at the national level and within various states, including our own. Their goal is simple. They want to influence and control that which is taught. But most of society understands that the quality of the education and the value of the degree is dependent upon professors who have the freedom to teach without intimidation, without threat, and without coercion.

Over the course of four years, you are subjected to a great many ideas and concepts–some with which you agree and some with which you don’t. During this period, your education–your higher education–is shaped from a multitude of different academic disciplines, taught by dozens of different professors, and influenced by the viewpoints of countless others, both within and outside the university. Ultimately, the knowledge you acquire is uniquely and distinctively yours.

This brings me to a final request. It goes to every graduate here, our other 26,000 alumni, and our many friends and supporters across the state and beyond.

Here it is:

Give this matter of academic freedom–for faculty and students–the attention it deserves. Join us in taking up the good fight. 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.

While elected officials have an obligation to pass and implement laws ensuring justice and the public good, universities have no less of an obligation to teach openly and freely, without fear or favor. These legislative and educational processes work best when they are attentive to, and respectful of, one other.

But that is Monday’s agenda. This is a weekend for celebration.

Today belongs to our new graduates. Savor this education and treasure the degrees that you have earned. Use them for grand and noble ends. And don’t forget to thank your families.

Good luck and Godspeed.

Carter Receives Lifetime Achievement Award

President Luther F. Carter was awarded with an inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award in Shared Governance at the state chapter meeting on October 8. AAUP-SC president, Shawn Smolen-Morton, presented Dr. Carter with the award on behalf of the state chapter and all the higher education faculty of South Carolina. The AAUP-SC Lifetime Achievement Award in Shared Governance is given to a SC college or university faculty member or a university administrator in recognition of their extraordinary efforts, support, and leadership in the realm of shared governance throughout their professional career.

Dr. Carter has served in higher education since 1979 as a faculty member and administrator at Western Kentucky University, the University of Florida, the College of Charleston, Winthrop University, and Francis Marion University. As professor, director, chair, university trustee, and president, he has facilitated, modeled, and mentored the principles of shared governance to your colleagues and faculties at each of these institutions. In 1999, he accepted the position as president and member of the faculty at Francis Marion University and immediately set about working with the faculty to restore “openness and mutuality” in the governance. In 2000, the AAUP National removed Francis Marion University from their sanctions list, and in 2001 the faculty nominated Dr. Carter for the Ralph S. Brown Award for Shared Governance. In 2002 he received that award at the annual conference in Washington, D.C., accompanied by members of the AAUP-FM chapter and the faculty executive committee. Shared governance at Francis Marion University had been “brought back from the brink” in large part due to Dr. Carter’s leadership and sincerity in restoring foundational AAUP principles.

Since 2002, Dr. Carter’s efforts have not wavered, but have consistently extended shared governance values at Francis Marion University and throughout the state of South Carolina. He has sponsored activities that include: AAUP New Faculty Orientations and integration breakfasts and luncheons; faculty executive and AAUP-FM members to National Meetings; and AAUP Fall and Spring Forums. Dr. and Mrs. Carter have hosted AAUP-FM Chapter and General Faculty Meeting receptions as well as Faculty Award Dinners where they have supported the annual Charlene Wages Shared Governance Award. On numerous occasions, Dr. Carter has given speeches encouraging faculty to study the AAUP Red Book and to join the AAUP. Most recently, during the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Carter facilitated shared governance conversations between the AAUP-SC and other higher education executives and advocates. These conversations have led to the creation of best practices for colleges and universities and the communication of those practices to local, state, and federal government leaders. Finally, the AAUP-SC leadership has continually offered Dr. Carter’s model to faculties when shared governance was broken or lacking at both public and private institutions.

Going forward, the Luther F. Carter Lifetime Achievement Award in Shared Governance will be awarded when some accomplishment in the area of shared governance is so outstanding as to merit being singled out. The criteria for candidates to be nominated include:

  1. Demonstration of the candidate’s strong commitment to shared governance;
  2. Ability of the candidate to work with multiple constituencies;
  3. Capability to bring about effective change;
  4. Capacity to communicate to multiple constituencies about the importance of shared governance.

Fall Forum Set for November 17

Francis Marion faculty members are encouraged to attend the 2022 AAUP Fall Forum being held on Thursday, November 17th, 4:00 pm, at the Lowrimore Auditorium. Fall and Spring Forums are open to all members of the FMU faculty, regardless of rank or tenure status.

The Fall Forum this year will focus on special activities and updates in four areas:

  • International Programs – J. Mark Blackwell, Director of International Programs
  • AAUP news relative to FMU faculty (Book Bans, Cancel Tenure legislation, Censorship of Curriculum, and affiliation with the American Federation of Teachers) – Shawn Smolen-Morton, AAUP-FM and AAUP-SC President
  • CASA – Jennifer Kunka, Associate Provost for Advising
  • Provost Search Committee – Keith Best, Chair of the Provost Search Committee

Following the Fall Forum, faculty are invited to a reception honoring our AAUP chapter. Hosted by President and Mrs. Carter, the reception will be held at the Lee Nursing Building at 5:00 pm. 

USC Aiken Awarded for Promoting Equity Week

AAUP-SC awarded two faculty members from AAUP USC-Aiken with the Economic Status and Faculty Welfare Award. Presented at the state chapter meeting on October 8, the award recognizes the AAUP USC Aiken Chapter for their creation and implementation of Equity Week. This annual event raises campus awareness of and organizes action for faculty who do not enjoy tenure. Contingent faculty work more teaching hours, receive fewer benefits, and worry about job security. 

For five years, David Bruzina and Amanda Warren have implemented a variety of evaluative tools to understand how well individual institutions actually support contingent faculty.  Then, Bruzina and Warren devised publicity campaigns to educated campus communities about the results.  Their work explains the complexity and precariousness of contingent appointments, so that students, parents, tenured professors, and administrators can understand what it feels like to be contingent. 

Contingency erodes both shared governance and academic freedom, because these faculty are not necessarily entitled to either.  The challenge is change, and David Bruzina and Amanda Warren’s Equity Week point to the concrete actions the AAUP-SC should take.

Francis Marion to Host State Conference on October 8

Join us on October 8, 2022 for the 2022 AAUP-SC State Conference. All are welcome–members as well as non-members. Please RSVP to Shawn Smolen-Morton ([email protected]) by September 26 if you are planning to attend all or part of the conference.

The event kicks off at 9:00 am with continental breakfast and chat at the Cauthen Cafe, shifts next door to Lowrimore Auditorium at 10:00 am for an awards presentation, and then moves across the lawn to The Cottage at 10:45 for a general business meeting. Lunch will be served at 12:45. Following lunch, the conference will wrap up with a business meeting for members only.

schedule of events