Press Releases | Intellectual Diversity

Take Action on Intellectual Diversity, Georgia Students Say

March 9, 2007

ATHENS, GA—The University of Georgia’s Student Government Association has endorsed House Bill 154, which seeks to ensure a free exchange of ideas on the state’s public university campuses. The bill is based on Intellectual Diversity: Time for Action, a report by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni.

“It is obvious that Georgia’s public universities should encourage a mix of ideas on campus,” noted ACTA president Anne D. Neal. “This bill simply asks them to explain publicly how they are doing it—and the public, including students, wants to know.”

“I join these students in encouraging the legislature to take action on intellectual diversity,” added Atlanta resident John R. Wilson, a former trustee of two colleges. “I want to make certain my grandchildren will receive the education they deserve. And as a Georgia taxpayer, I have a right to know what the public colleges here are doing.”

Five state representatives have co-sponsored HB 154, which would require Georgia’s public institutions of higher education to report annually on specific steps taken to “to ensure and promote intellectual diversity and academic freedom.”

The bill defines intellectual diversity as “the foundation of a learning environment that exposes students to a variety of political, ideological, and other perspectives.”

The only requirement in the bill is that the universities file, and post online, an annual report on the actions they have taken in pursuit of intellectual diversity.

It includes eleven suggested actions universities can take in pursuit of intellectual diversity—none of which are mandatory. The content of the report is entirely up to each institution.

One suggestion is that the universities “[e]stablish clear campus policies to ensure freedom of the press for students and report any incidents of student newspaper thefts or destruction.” Over 1,000 copies of The Georgia GuardDawg, an alternative newspaper, were stolen in September. A pro-life display at Georgia Tech was also vandalized in January.

Another suggestion is that the colleges “[e]liminate any speech codes that restrict freedom of speech.” A federal lawsuit has already forced Georgia Tech to repeal its code.

The suggestions are based on those in ACTA’s report Intellectual Diversity: Time for Action, which numerous trustees have praised for its sensitivity to academic freedom.

Legislation similar to HB 154 has just been approved by two committees of the Missouri House of Representatives, as well as endorsed by the state’s governor. And a similar reporting requirement is already in place in Pennsylvania, approved last year by a special bipartisan committee following testimony by ACTA.

“Troubling evidence suggests that students at Georgia’s public universities are not receiving the education they deserve—and that taxpayers are not getting their money’s worth,” ACTA’s Neal concluded. “Like the UGA student government, I am thankful to see reasonable efforts to bring some sunlight, transparency, and accountability to the situation.”

The American Council of Trustees and Alumni is a bipartisan, national nonprofit dedicated to academic freedom, academic quality, and accountability in higher education. ACTA has a network of trustees and alumni around the country and has issued numerous reports including Intellectual Diversity: Time for Action, The Hollow Core, and Losing America’s Memory: Historical Illiteracy in the 21st Century.


Launched in 1995, we are the only organization that works with alumni, donors, trustees, and education leaders across the United States to support liberal arts education, uphold high academic standards, safeguard the free exchange of ideas on campus, and ensure that the next generation receives an intellectually rich, high-quality college education at an affordable price.

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