Millsaps College President Dr. Robert Pearigen recently issued the following statement regarding Mississippi’s controversial “Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination” act:
“On March 4, 2016, Millsaps issued a statement expressing hope that, if passed, House Bill 1523 would not be used to discriminate on the basis of race, creed, religion, or sexual orientation.
Since then, there has been much discussion on campus about H.B. 1523, and many members of the Millsaps community urged the Legislature to reject passage of the bill. Regrettably, from my personal perspective, the bill has now been passed by the Mississippi Legislature and signed into law by the Governor. I am increasingly concerned that the bill leads inextricably to discriminatory practices and will not meet the constitutional challenges that lie ahead.
As for the College, Millsaps remains committed to its tradition of advocating for the rights of all people, especially those who may find themselves without a strong voice in this current debate, and our belief that religious freedom and social equality are both fundamental rights in our nation and are protected by federal law. In light of H.B. 1523 being signed into law, Millsaps reaffirms its longstanding commitment to social justice and equality as well as its promise to provide all of its students, faculty, and staff – and the community at large – with an open and welcoming environment in which to think, debate, learn, grow, and dream.”
Dr. Robert W. Pearigen
President and Professor of Political Science