State Rep. Jane Cunningham, R-Chesterfield, has filed a bill that her release says will “ensure the free exchange of ideas on the state’s public university campuses.”
House Bill 213 “would require Missouri’s public institutions of higher education to report annually on specific steps taken to ‘to ensure and promote intellectual diversity and academic freedom.’ It suggests a variety of measures institutions can report, but leaves the contents of the report—which will be made public—entirely up to each institution.”
Anne D. Neal, president of the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, is quoted as praising the bill. “It is obvious that universities should encourage a mix of ideas on campus. All this bill asks is that they explain to the public how they are doing that.”
Also praising the measure was Crosby Kemper III, chief executive of the Kansas City Public Library. “I want to make certain my grandchildren will receive the education they deserve, and Missouri taxpayers have a right to know what the public colleges they fund are doing.”
Similar efforts have been under way in several states, including Virginia and South Dakota. According to Cunningham’s release, “provisions of the bill are similar to recommendations adopted by a bipartisan committee of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives late last year, following testimony by ACTA…”
In South Dakota, all public university professors now must include an “Academic Freedom Statement” on their course syllabi. It reminds students that their “academic performance may be evaluated solely on an academic basis, not on opinions or conduct in matters unrelated to academic standards.”
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