Friday, February 11, 2005
Academic Bill of Rights Push in Ohio
From CNS News
The Ohio Senate is considering a bill intended to encourage different viewpoints at state-funded colleges and universities.Evidently, freedom in some people's minds only counts if it means you go along with their views (which is why the critics call it a restrictive bill, I suspect.). But real academic freedom shouldn't be freedom to indoctrinate. It should be freedom to explore, learn, and gain wisdom...and that requires accepting the fact that there are differences of opinion, and dealing with it in professional ways that benefit all of us.
Conservative supporters call it the "Academic Bill of Rights," but critics, including the American Civil Liberties Union, call it an "academic bill of restrictions."
The bill's co-sponsor, Sen. Larry Mumper (R-Marion) was quoted as saying the bill would "open up debate" by curbing a perceived left-leaning political bias at the state's colleges and universities.
The bill directs public colleges and universities in Ohio to "adopt a policy recognizing that students, faculty, and instructors of the institution have the following rights."
Those rights include:
-- "a learning environment in which the students have access to a broad range of serious scholarly opinion pertaining to the subjects they study." That includes "dissenting sources and viewpoints."
-- grading based on students' "reasoned answers and appropriate knowledge" of the subjects they study. The bill says students will not be discriminated against because of political, ideological, or religious beliefs. And it says faculty "shall not use their courses or their positions for the purpose of political, ideological, religious, or antireligious indoctrination."
-- freedom from the persistent introduction of "controversial matter" into the coursework that has no bearing on the subject at hand.
-- freedom of speech, assembly, and expression, when it comes to student organizations.
-- distribution of student fees "on a viewpoint neutral basis."
The bill also says faculty members "shall be hired, fired, and granted tenure on the basis of their competence and appropriate knowledge in their field of expertise and shall not be hired, fired, promoted, granted tenure, or denied promotion or tenure on the basis of their political, ideological, or religious beliefs."