National Free Speech News & Commentary

Indiana Bill Threatens Faculty Members Who Don’t Provide ‘Intellectual Diversity’

February 21, 2024 1 min read

Ryan Quinn
Inside Higher Ed

Excerpt: In an echo of last year, state lawmakers in different parts of the country are pushing bills that would diminish tenure protections and target diversity, equity and inclusion programs.

Indiana’s Republican-dominated state Senate wants to do both at once. Earlier this month it passed a bill that takes aim at both tenure and DEI in public colleges and universities, tying them together with language that shifts focus from racial or other notions of diversity toward what it calls “intellectual diversity.” Senate Bill 202, now being debated in the majority-Republican state House of Representatives, defines that term as “multiple, divergent, and varied scholarly perspectives on an extensive range of public policy issues.”
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Colleges Would Have to Eliminate Dozens of Jobs Under a New DEI Bill in Idaho

February 21, 2024 1 min read

Megan Zahneis
Chronicle of Higher Education

Excerpt: Public colleges in Idaho would have to close offices and centers that do diversity, equity, and inclusion work if a Republican-backed bill introduced last week is enacted.

But, in a shift from the other bills targeting DEI measures that The Chronicle is tracking, the Idaho legislation also lists three dozen examples of specific jobs at Boise State and Idaho State Universities and at the University of Idaho that would be prohibited upon its passage.
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Harvard condemns ‘flagrantly antisemitic’ cartoon posted by student groups

February 21, 2024 1 min read

Annabelle Tilsit
Washington Post

Excerpt: Harvard University is again embroiled in a controversy over antisemitism on campus, after student groups and a faculty group shared an antisemitic cartoon.

In a statement late Tuesday, Harvard interim president Alan M. Garber condemned the cartoon, calling it “flagrantly antisemitic,” after it was shared on social media by two student groups — the Harvard Undergraduate Palestine Solidarity Committee and the African American Resistance Organization — and reposted by Harvard Faculty and Staff for Justice in Palestine.
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Georgia Senate considers controls on school libraries and criminal charges for librarians

February 20, 2024 1 min read

Jeff Amy
Washington Post

Excerpt: A proposal that would require school libraries to notify parents of every book their child checks out was advanced by Georgia senators Tuesday, while a proposal to subject school librarians to criminal charges for distributing material containing obscenity waits in the wings.

The measures are part of a broad and continuing push by Republicans in many states to root out what they see as inappropriate material from schools and libraries, saying books and electronic materials are corrupting children.
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College Leaders Crack Down on Student Protests

February 19, 2024 1 min read

Jessica Blake
Inside Higher Ed

Excerpt: As college and university presidents face growing backlash from state and federal lawmakers for their responses to student protests against the war between Israel and Hamas, higher education leaders are cracking down on student demonstrations—particularly those that support Palestinian people.

In the last week, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology became one of several institutions that have suspended student groups for violations of campus protest rules, and Stanford University threatened to take disciplinary action against students who occupied a campus plaza for nearly four months.
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Faculty group calls on Yale to make teaching ‘distinct from activism’

February 19, 2024 1 min read

Ben Raab and Benjamin Hernandez
Yale Daily News

Excerpt: Over 100 faculty members now have their signatures displayed on a website for a new faculty group, Faculty for Yale, which “insist[s] on the primacy of teaching, learning and research as distinct from advocacy and activism.”

Among other measures, the group calls for “a thorough reassessment of administrative encroachment” and the promotion of diverse viewpoints. The group also calls for a more thorough description of free expression guidelines in the Faculty Handbook; Yale’s current guidelines are based on its 1974 Woodward Report. The group also wants Yale to implement a set of guidelines regarding donor influence, which were first put forth by the Gift Policy Review Committee in 2022.
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