State legislatures nation-wide are currently considering versions of the Georgia House Bill 154, the “Intellectual Diversity in Higher Education Act”, a bill which claims to support the free exchange of ideas.
However, instead of allowing the University system to propagate such a flow internally, the bill, supported by lobbyist David Horowitz, intends to force bi-partisanship and the discussion of minority opinions upon educators through regulation methods.
House Bill 154 is in effect an attempt to inject extreme minority rights into debates where they have already been eliminated, which will result in extra expenditures and bureaucracies being forced upon the University System of Georgia. The bill does not provide any standards for schools to comply with, nor any means to develop them. Rather, it vaguely calls for public reports and statewide studies. Resources will be diverted away from actual research and education in order to compile data on various professors, subjects, and viewpoints, organize reports and later review them all in the name of “intellectual diversity”.
This attempt to protect the bi-partisanship of education is an insult to both the maturity of Georgia students as well as the professionalism and integrity of our professors.
While admittedly there is a left-leaning tendency among university professors nation-wide, academia has traditionally been strictly self-regulated. Through the tenure system and the push to publish, professors are forced to maintain neutrality in research and classroom decorum. Furthermore, individual institutions already have methods for students to appeal any perceived discrimination in both grades or services such as SGA funds.
Students have the right to avoid classes, to regulate the information that they are exposed to by choosing for themselves what to listen to and what to regard as fact. College students are expected to be making informed decisions in every other aspect of their lives, and the insinuation that we are incapable of doing so in our own education nullifies the entire point of the university system.
The ability to discern which statements and theories are biased or representative of a certain ideology is a crucial part of the liberal education. By regulating what students are taught the state would deprive them of this skill, a skill that they will need in the real world when they are not protected by unnecessary legislation. The Georgia House of Representatives should trust the intelligence of the students that they represent, the institutions that they support, and the professors that they help employ.