Campus Intellectual Diversity Act

Introduction

Higher education universities have become politicized not least because they lack intellectual diversity—and the more politicized they become, the more they suppress intellectual diversity. The activist establishment especially silences conservatives and moderates. State policymakers cannot restore intellectual freedom to the public universities only by defending campus freedoms and due process. They must also take positive steps to restore intellectual diversity.

Our model bill restores intellectual diversity first by means of an Intellectual Diversity Charter (Section A), which dedicates universities to intellectual diversity, including by the bureaucratic means of an intellectual diversity rubric (Subsection I). It then mandates institutional neutrality (Subsection II), prohibits a comprehensive range of means the activist establishment has used to persecute dissenters from campus orthodoxy (Subsection III), and provides dedicated intellectual diversity protections for student organizations (Subsection IV). Our model bill both provides dedicated intellectual diversity protections for speakers and establishes transparent records of speaker fees, so as to deter the activist establishment from using these fees simply as patronage for like-minded politicians and activists (Subsection V). It establishes an Office of Public Policy Events as a practical institutional means to guarantee and foster intellectual diversity among invited speakers (Section B). Our model bill then prohibits service-learning, a pedagogy that transforms college courses from classroom inquiry into truth into vocational training for progressive activism (Section C). It reinforces these provisions by providing disciplinary sanctions for their violation (Section D) and by requiring the public universities to publicize both the provisions of this law and violations of the law by anyone under their jurisdiction (Section E).

More broadly, the politicized bureaucracies that have seized control of higher education—notably offices of civic engagement, community engagement, diversity, equity, inclusion, multiculturalism, residential life, retention, student life, student success, sustainability, and Title IX—now dedicate themselves to eliminating freedoms of speech, religion, and association. State policymakers cannot restore freedom to higher education until they have removed from these bureaucracies the right to discriminate. Section A, Subsection III prohibits the most important means used to enforce conformity to radical ideology on campus, including “diversity statements” and ideological discrimination in admissions, hiring, promotion, and tenuring. Policymakers need to present these bureaucrats with a stark choice between ceasing to suppress freedom or ceasing to receive funding.

Our model bill makes the Office of Public Policy Events (OPPE) directly responsible to the {Board of Regents} of the {State} public university system. If state policymakers pass into law the School of Intellectual Freedom Act, they should consider housing the OPPE within the School of Intellectual Freedom (SIF) and making it responsible to the director of the SIF. Alternately, state policymakers should consider making the OPPE directly responsible to the Governor or the state Legislature.

Higher education administrations cannot be trusted to enforce this act, unless 1) an independent official is present on campus to enforce compliance; and 2) state policymakers can threaten credible budgetary sanctions for noncompliance. Proper enforcement of this model bill therefore requires the passage of the Ombudsman Act and the College Finances Act.

Model Legislative Text

Section A [“Intellectual Diversity Charter”]

The {Board of Regents} of the {State} public university system, each institution of higher education that receives state funding, and each school, office, and department within each institution of higher education that receives state funding, shall develop and adopt an intellectual diversity policy that states, at least, the following:

Subsection I [“Intellectual Diversity”]
  1. Each institution of higher education, and each administrative component within each institution of higher education, shall affirm and guarantee that the primary function of each institution of higher education, and each administrative component within each institution of higher education, is to practice, or support the practice of, discovery, improvement, transmission, and dissemination of knowledge by means of research, teaching, discussion, and debate. To fulfill this function, each institution of higher education, and each administrative component within each institution of higher education, shall affirm and guarantee that it will strive to ensure the fullest degree of “intellectual diversity,” and define “intellectual diversity” as “multiple, divergent, and opposing perspectives on an extensive range of public policy issues widely-discussed and debated in society at large, especially those perspectives that reflect the range of American opinion, but which are poorly represented on campus.”
  2. Each institution of higher education, and each administrative component within each institution of higher education, shall affirm and guarantee that faculty and staff shall allow and encourage students to reach their own conclusions about all controversial matters and shall not seek to inculcate any social, political, or religious point of view.
  3. Each institution of higher education shall establish and implement intellectual diversity rubrics for course approval, approval of courses to satisfy general education requirements, student course evaluations, common reading programs, annual reviews, departments’ strategic goals, and student learning outcomes.
  4. The items of this subsection shall not apply to the exercise of professional judgment about how to accomplish intellectual diversity within an academic discipline, unless this exercise of professional judgment is misused to constrict intellectual diversity as defined in item 1 above.
Subsection II [“Institutional Neutrality”]
  1. Each institution of higher education, and each administrative component within each institution of higher education, shall affirm and guarantee that it will not endorse, oppose, comment or take action, as an institution, on the public policy controversies of the day, or to any other ideology, principle, concept, or formulation that requires commitment to any belief or policy that is the subject of political controversy, including issues such as climate change, electoral politics, foreign policy, diversity programs, immigration policy, or marriage policy, and concepts such as allyship, diversity, social justice, sustainability, systemic racism, gender identity, equity, or inclusion, and any ideology that classifies individuals within identity groups, divides identity groups into oppressed and oppressors, and prescribes advantages, disadvantages, or segregation based upon identity group membership, although it may endorse Congress when it establishes a state of armed hostility against a foreign power.
  2. Each institution of higher education, and each administrative component within each institution of higher education, shall affirm and guarantee that it will not encourage, discourage, require, or forbid students, faculty, or administrators to endorse, assent to, or publicly express a given ideology, political stance, or view of social policy.
  3. No institution of higher education, nor any administrative component within an institution of higher education, may engage in or abet activities such as boycotts, divestments, or sanctions.
  4. The items of this subsection shall not apply to the exercise of professional judgment about whether to endorse the consensus or foundational beliefs of an academic discipline, unless this exercise of professional judgment is misused to take an action prohibited in item 1 above.
Subsection III [“Nondiscrimination”]
  1. Each institution of higher education shall prohibit political and ideological litmus tests in all hiring, promotion, and admissions decisions, including “diversity statements” and any other requirement that applicants describe their commitments to concepts such as allyship, diversity, social justice, sustainability, systemic racism, gender identity, equity, or inclusion, or to any ideology that classifies individuals within identity groups, divides identity groups into oppressed and oppressors, and prescribes advantages, disadvantages, or segregation based upon identity group membership, or to any other ideology, principle, concept, or formulation that requires commitment to any belief or policy that is the subject of political controversy.
  2. Each institution of higher education, and each administrative component within each institution of higher education, shall affirm and guarantee that no hiring, promotion, or admissions process or decision shall encourage, discourage, require, or forbid students, faculty, or administrators to endorse, assent to, or publicly express a given ideology, political stance, or view of social policy; and each institution of higher education, and each administrative component within each institution of higher education, shall further affirm and guarantee that they therefore will not use a “diversity statement,” or any other assessment of applicants’ commitments to concepts such as allyship, diversity, social justice, sustainability, systemic racism, gender identity, equity, or inclusion, in any hiring, promotion, or admissions process or decision.
  3. Each institution of higher education, and each administrative component within each institution of higher education, shall affirm and guarantee that no process or decision regulating conditions of work or study, such as committee assignments, course scheduling, or workload adjustment policies, shall encourage, discourage, require, or forbid students, faculty, or administrators to endorse, assent to, or publicly express a given ideology, political stance, or view of social policy.
Subsection IV [“Student Organizations”]
  1. Each institution of higher education, and each administrative component within each institution of higher education, shall affirm and guarantee that recognized student organizations exist independent of, and outside of the direct control of the institution; that registered student organizations are not agents of the institution and are not to be endorsed or directed by the institution; that recognition of, or the provision of funding to, student organization consistent with this policy should not be construed to conflict with or alter the foregoing; and that registered student organizations are entirely responsible for the actions, activities and liabilities incurred in the name of the registered student organization and its members acting in their capacity as members of the registered student organization. 
  2. Each institution of higher education, and each administrative component within each institution of higher education, shall prohibit quotas and limits on the establishment of student organizations.
  3. Each institution of higher education, and each administrative component within each institution of higher education, shall prohibit discriminatory use of the processes that student groups must follow to secure recognition as student organizations; especially by discriminating against a religious student organization because of the religious beliefs, practices, speech, membership standards, or standards of conduct of the religious student organization.
  4. Each institution of higher education, and each administrative component within each institution of higher education, shall guarantee every ideological, political, or religious student organization the right to require its leaders or members to affirm and adhere to the organization’s sincerely held beliefs, comply with the organization’s standards of conduct, or further the organization’s mission or purpose, as defined by the organization. 
  5. Each institution of higher education, and each administrative component within each institution of higher education, shall prohibit discriminatory use of campus funding, especially by discriminating against a religious student organization because of the religious beliefs, practices, speech, membership standards, or standards of conduct of the religious student organization.
Subsection V [“Speakers”]
  1. Each institution of higher education, and each administrative component within each institution of higher education, shall affirm and guarantee that it will seek out intellectual diversity in invited speakers.
  2. Each institution of higher education, and each administrative component within each institution of higher education, shall post prominently on its Internet website, and deliver to the {Board of Regents} of the {State} public university system, a complete list of all speaker fees, honoraria, and other emoluments in excess of $500. The information posted on the institution’s Internet website must be accessible from the institution’s Internet website home page by use of not more than three links; searchable by keywords and phrases; and accessible to the public without requiring registration or use of a user name, a password, or another user identification.

Section B [“Office of Public Policy Events”]

Subsection 1

The {Board of Regents} of the {State} public university system shall establish and fund an Office of Public Policy Events in each institution of higher education, the responsibilities of which shall include, at least, the following:

  1. Organizing, publicizing, and staging debates, group forums, and individual lectures that address from multiple, divergent, and opposing perspectives an extensive range of public policy issues widely-discussed and debated in society at large.
  2. Inviting speakers who hold a wide diversity of perspectives, from within and outside the campus community, to participate in debates, group forums, and individual lectures. If the Office of Public Policy Events is unable readily to find an advocate from within the university who is well-versed in a perspective the Office wishes to see represented in a given debate, group forum or individual lecture, the Office should seek to invite such a speaker from outside the university.
  3. Providing, where necessary, honoraria, travel, and lodging expenses to participants in debates, group forums, and individual lectures organized by the Office of Public Policy Events, from outside the campus community.
  4. Maintaining a permanent, publicly accessible, searchable, and up-to-date calendar in print and Internet-accessible formats listing all events sponsored by the Office of Public Policy Events, and all other debates, group forums, and individual lectures open to the entire campus community at a given institution within the state university system, that address public policy issues, itemizing the title of the event or lecture, the name and institutional affiliation of the speaker or speakers, and the office, institute, department, program, or organization, that sponsored the event, excluding those events sponsored by off-campus groups in rented facilities.
  5. Delivering a printed and a pdf-formatted copy of the previous academic year’s annual public policy event calendar for all institutions in the state university system, arranged chronologically for each individual institution within the state university system, to the public, the Governor, and the State Legislature by September 1 of each year, and preserving and making available to the public copies of all yearly event calendars in the libraries of the state university system.
  6. Making publicly available a complete Internet-accessible video record of every debate, group forum, and individual lecture organized by the Office of Public Policy Events, mounting that video record on the Internet within ten in-session working days of the event in question, and maintaining that video record in a fully public, Internet-accessible form for at least five years following the date of the event. Videos records of every debate, group forum, and individual lecture organized by the Office of Public Policy Events at a given institution of higher education should also be permanently preserved within, and made available to the public through, the library of that institution.
Subsection 2

The {Board of Regents} of the {State} public university system shall appoint staff for each institution of higher education’s Office of Public Policy Events, including an individual administrator designated the Director of Public Policy Events. The duties and reporting responsibilities of the Office of Public Policy Events described in this Act shall apply to each Director of Public Policy Events and to the Director’s staff.

Subsection 3

The Office of Public Policy Events in each institution of higher education shall provide information directly to the University Office of Reporting and Analytics (the university office responsible for compiling and reporting the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, IPEDS, Graduation Rate Survey), the Office of General Counsel on that campus, and to the {Board of Regents} of the {State} public university system.

Subsection 4

All debates, group forums, and individual lectures organized by the Office of Public Policy Events at a given institution shall be open to all students, faculty, and staff at that institution, and, unless restricting attendance by persons unaffiliated with the university is necessary to achieve a compelling governmental interest, to the general public as well.

Subsection 5

While the legislature offers no specific directives on the number of events, the choice of individual event topics, or the particular viewpoints to be held by participants, each Office of Public Policy Events shall aspire to:

  1. Organize a substantial number of all three event-types: debates, group forums, and individual lectures.
  2. Obtain the participation of speakers who represent widely-held views on opposing sides of the most widely-discussed public policy issues of the day.
  3. Invite and host speakers from outside the university who are well-versed in a perspective the Office wishes to see represented in a given debate, group forum or individual lecture, if such a speaker is not readily available from within the university.
Subsection 6
  1. “Debate” is defined as an event at which two or more participants speak in favor of opposing approaches to the same public policy dispute, after which each participant is allotted time to address and rebut the position presented by the opposing speaker or speakers.
  2. “Group Forum” is defined as an event at which two or more speakers address a public policy dispute from divergent or opposing perspectives, after which each participant is allotted time to address questions from the audience and to comment on their fellow speakers’ positions, if they so choose.

Section C [“Service-Learning Prohibition”]

  1. No institution of higher education that receives state funding may fund, facilitate, or in any way support any “Service-learning” “Service-learning Coordinator” or a “Service Sponsor”.
  2. “Service-learning” means a method— (A) under which students or participants learn and develop through active participation in thoughtfully organized service that— (i) is conducted in and meets the needs of a community; (ii) is coordinated with an elementary school, secondary school, institution of higher education, or community service program, and with the community; and (iii) helps foster civic responsibility; and (B) that— (i) is integrated into and enhances the academic curriculum of the students, or the educational components of the community service program in which the participants are enrolled; and (ii) provides structured time for the students or participants to reflect on the service experience.
  3. “Service-learning coordinator” means an individual who provides services including— (A) planning of school-based service-learning programs, through distribution by State educational agencies, territories, and Indian tribes of State or Federal funds made available to local educational agencies and Indian tribes, which planning may include paying for the cost of— (i) the salaries and benefits of service-learning coordinators; or (ii) the recruitment, training and professional development, supervision, and placement of service-learning coordinators; and (B) providing services that may include— (i) identifying community partners; (ii) assisting in the design and implementation of a service-learning program; (iii) providing technical assistance and information to, and facilitating the training of, teachers and assisting in the planning, development, execution, and evaluation of service-learning in their classrooms; (iv) assisting local partnerships in the planning, development, and execution of service-learning projects, including summer of service programs; (v) assisting schools and local educational agencies in developing school policies and practices that support the integration of service-learning into the curriculum; and (vi) carrying out such other duties as the local partnership or entity, respectively, may determine to be appropriate.
  4. “Service sponsor” means an organization, or other entity, that has been selected to provide a placement for a participant in a service-learning program. 

Section D [“Disciplinary Sanctions”]

Each institution of higher education shall implement a range of disciplinary sanctions for anyone under its jurisdiction who substantially interferes with the intellectual diversity rights of others.

Section E [“Public Information”]

  1. Each institution of higher education shall inform all students and employees of the protections afforded to them by the Campus Intellectual Diversity Act, and of the policies it has developed and adopted to put the Campus Intellectual Diversity Act into practice; the institution shall post this information prominently on its website, include it in information given to new employees, and provide it to each student during New Student Orientation. The information posted on the institution’s Internet website must be accessible from the institution’s Internet website home page by use of not more than three links; searchable by keywords and phrases; and accessible to the public without requiring registration or use of a user name, a password, or another user identification.
  2. Each institution of higher education shall post prominently on its Internet website, and deliver to the {Board of Regents} of the {State} public university system, an annual report of all violations of the Campus Intellectual Diversity Act committed by anyone under its jurisdiction and of all consequent disciplinary sanctions. The information posted on the institution’s Internet website must be accessible from the institution’s Internet website home page by use of not more than three links; searchable by keywords and phrases; and accessible to the public without requiring registration or use of a user name, a password, or another user identification.

Section F [“Severability”]

If any provision of this chapter, or the application of any provision to any person or circumstance, is held to be invalid, the remainder of this chapter and the application of its provisions to any other person or circumstance shall not be affected thereby.

Existing State Statutes

Florida: HB 233 (2021) [An act relating to postsecondary education]

South Dakota: HB 1087 (2019) [An Act to promote free speech and intellectual diversity at certain institutions of higher education] (and see SDBOR Draft Policy)

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