MOREHEAD CITY — A Morehead City resident, who is an attorney and U.S. Marine officer, is the author of legislation that would require North Carolina university and two-year community college students to complete a course on America’s government and founding documents.
Jameson Broggi said he wrote the bill, which has already passed the House and is making its way through Senate committees, because of his concern over the lack of knowledge displayed by college graduates regarding America’s founding documents, such as the U.S. Constitution.
“We see that college graduates know very little about American government and America’s founding principles,” he said during a telephone interview April 26. “On their own, not one single public university or college in the UNC system requires American government to graduate.”
Broggi, a first lieutenant stationed at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, emphasized that he is working on passage of the bill as a “private citizen” and his effort is not related to his career in the Marine Corps. He further said he is not a lobbyist or funded by any groups.
“I have been taking vacation days to work on this,” he said of the legislation, which is named The REACH Act, which stands for Reclaiming College Education on America’s Constitutional Heritage Act.
The 29-year-old wrote similar legislation that was signed into law in South Carolina in 2021.
NC House Bill 96, which passed the House by a 69-47 vote on March 22, would require students to take a three credit-hour course covering America’s founding and history. The course would require reading of the U.S. Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the Emancipation Proclamation, at least five essays from the Federalist Papers, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Letter from Birmingham Jail and the Gettysburg Address.
The bill, also known as SB 114, was referred to the Senate on March 23, and is in committee. Broggi pointed out that all four co-chairs of the House and Senate Higher Education committees are signed on as sponsors for the bill. House Rep. Celeste Cairns, R-Carteret and Craven counties, also signed as a sponsor for HB 96 and voted in favor of the legislation. She could not be reached for comment.
Sen. Norman Sanderson, R-Carteret, Chowan, Dare, Hyde, Pasquotank, Perquimans and Washington, is signed on as a Senate primary sponsor. He could not be reached for comment by the time of this post.
The young attorney said he did not see the legislation as partisan but a way to instill the basic principles of America’s government and founding documents.
“I love our country and am grateful for the freedoms we have here in America, but to continue to be free, we have to pass on to the next generation the principles that make us free,” he said. “We must not take our freedoms for granted. I hope that students taking the class will learn America’s founding principles and learn what it takes to remain free.”
More than 600 UNC Chapel Hill professors signed a public letter April 25 opposing the legislation. The 673 professors signed the letter decrying the course and another bill that seeks to end academic tenure, claiming it is an infringement on the university’s “academic freedom.”
The professors further claim HB 96 “violates core principles of academic freedom” and “substitutes ideological force-feeding for the intellectual expertise of faculty.”
The letter continues, “Our leaders continue to disregard campus autonomy, attack the expertise and independence of world-class faculty, and seek to force students’ educations into pre-approved ideological containers. We must protect the principles of academic freedom and shared governance which have long made UNC a leader in public education.”
Broggi said he’s disappointed by the professors’ statement.
“I think it’s a shame that professors are opposing a class on the Constitution and founding documents that make us free and set standards for equality in our country,” he said.
He added that eight other states already require colleges to offer a similar course in American government. They include South Carolina, Texas, Nevada, Wyoming, Georgia, Utah, Arkansas and Missouri.
Broggi, originally from Beaufort, S.C., received his law degree from the Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University in Arlington, Virginia in 2020. He joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 2020 and graduated from officer candidate school and has been on active duty since 2021.
“I knew for many years I wanted to go to law school and join the Marine Corps, so I combined them both,” he said.
His wife, Marilyn, is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in mass communications at the University of Georgia.
Contact Cheryl Burke at 252-726-7081, ext. 255; email Cheryl@thenewstimes.com; or follow on Twitter @cherylccnt.
Fantastic idea. I hope it's successful!
While a good thing , where , in the current crop of teachers , will you find someone qualified to teach this subject ?
The 600 "faculty" at UNC-CH should be required to pass the course in order to keep getting paychecks from us.
Why? A lot of them are expert scientists in their respective fields. Does a brain surgeon all of sudden need to take time from teaching future brain surgeons to study government? I'd argue we should keep letting them teach their respective expertise and do their research and stay out of their way, so they can do the job they're being paid for.
98% of the professors there aren't teaching anything related to the government. UNC has hugely successful research, medical, and scientific departments.
i wonder if reading and understanding the 3/5 compromise counts as CRT? Meanwhile the ERA amendment just failed AGAIN. The measure didn't win the support needed to clear a key 60-vote threshold, with the final tally being 51 to 47. For those who insist "That's all in the past everything is fine now, stop dredging up the past"
This is political posturing. Far more residents attempt public high school than attend colleges. Make the knowledge a high school graduation requirement if you are so concerned.
DAK and others seem to want to have it both ways. Nobody made these folks sign anything opposing the suggested course. If there are faculty that want to stick to their field, or researchers who are not really involved in this, WHY did they choose to weigh in? Those signing the petition want us to keep bankrolling their indoctrination program. The suggested course is basic history, but that is a problem for these folks.
Some follks just love their buzzwords " indoctrination" As others have said this course work is for middle and high school students. Perhaps all citizens should have a pop quiz before voting? Mandatory annual refresher before your tax return is mailed?
I appreciate that the main point is to make sure citizens are educated about our government; however, don't we want our citizens who don't go to college to also be educated about our government? This program would reach far more citizens of it is in the high school. Also, how can we mandate students pay for a class that does not align with their program? Especially in the community college where many are simply trying to gain the skills for their career field on their own dime. This bill means well but is sorely misplaced. Make sure this information is passed down in the public schools rather than only to those who go on to college.
Interesting to note the author of this legislation in a posting on the CCNT's facebook page, posted a false study to justify it saying "college students think judge judy is on the supreme court" Sharp eyed readers quickly fact checked that. credibility once lost is difficult to regain. Easily disprovable facts to justify an agenda...bad policy for a lawyer who should know better, good training for a future politician?
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