A dispute sparked by a social work student at Missouri State University in Springfield has sparked legislation at the Capitol, which supporters say is needed to ensure intellectual diversity.
Missouri State settled a lawsuit filed by student Emily Brooker who accused the social work program of violating her First Amendment rights when she refused to sign a letter supporting homosexual adoption. Brooker says a college professor interrogated her about her beliefs after the incident.
Rep. Jane Cunningham (R-Chesterfield) says Brooker’s case illustrates a wide-spread prejudice within Missouri academics. But Representative Judy Baker of Columbia questions whether it’s just an isolated case. Cunningham, though, insists a narrow ideology pervades state colleges, suppressing the academic freedom students should enjoy in the classroom. Her bill, HB 213, will require colleges to report the steps they are taking to ensure intellectual diversity and the free exchange of ideas.
The House has approved the bill on a 97-to-50 vote. It now goes to the Senate.
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