Whereas in 1957 Sweezy vs. New HampshireThe United States Supreme Court has observed that “[t]The imperative of independence in he American university community is almost self-evident. No one should underestimate the important role in a democracy that those who manage and train our youth play. Imposing a straitjacket on intellectual leaders in our colleges and universities would endanger the future of our nation. . . . Teachers and students must always be free to enquire, study and evaluate, to develop new understandings; Otherwise, our civilization will stagnate and die.”; and
where ten years later Keyishian v. Board of Regents, the Supreme Court also declared that academic freedom is “a special concern of the First Amendment, which does not tolerate laws that impose bigotry on the classroom.”; And
Since Haley v. James, the Supreme Court stated that “this Court’s precedents leave no room for the view that, because of the recognized need for order, First Amendment protections should apply less force on college campuses than in the community at large. Quite the contrary, ‘the vigilant protection of constitutional liberties than in the community of American schools. Not very important.””; And
Since West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnett, the Supreme Court held that the First Amendment prohibits the government from compelling a person to speak, declaring that “if there is a fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or low, may determine what shall happen.” Fundamentalists or citizens on matters of politics, nationalism, religion, or other opinions compel them to confess or act on their beliefs.”; And
Because many colleges and universities require or invite current and/or prospective faculty to demonstrate their commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), often through a written statement that factors into hiring, rehiring, evaluation, promotion, or tenure decisions; And
Whereas vague or ideologically motivated DEI statement policies can too easily serve as a litmus test for adherence to ideological views prevalent in DEI, punishing faculty or applicants for dissenting on public concerns, and the Supreme Court has warned against. Keysian, “cast the pall of orthodoxy over our public college and university campuses”; And
Whereas a survey of hundreds of colleges and universities by the American Association of University Professors found that more than one-fifth of higher education institutions include DEI criteria in their tenure criteria, and of those institutions that do not include tenure criteria, about half indicate that they would add such criteria in the future. to consider doing; And
Whereas an American Enterprise Institute survey of academic job postings found that about 20 percent required a DEI statement; And
Whereas, according to data presented at an academic conference at the University of Southern California in 2022, a majority of tenured/tenure-track faculty members surveyed in a survey indicated that they disliked a candidate for an academic position when the applicant’s DEI statement did not make the statement. Reference race/ethnicity and gender diversity, reflecting the fact that DEI statements are used to favor candidates who support campus ideological orthodoxy; And
As per the upcoming Fire survey, faculty are evenly split on whether DEI statements are a justifiable requirement for a university job (50%) or an ideological litmus test that violates academic freedom (50%), and three-four are liberal. Faculty support mandatory diversity statements while 90% of conservative faculty and 56% of moderate faculty see them as a political litmus test; And
Whereas the First Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits public universities from compelling faculty to subscribe to certain ideological views;
NOW, THEREFORE, ____ State enacts the following:
A. No public institution of higher education shall condition an applicant for admission or a faculty member for the appointment, reappointment, or promotion of a pledge of allegiance to, or a statement of personal support for or against, the applicant or faculty member. To any political ideology or movement, including a pledge or statement regarding diversity, equality, inclusion, patriotism, or related issues, nor shall an institution request or require any such pledge or statement from an applicant or faculty member.
B. A public institution of higher education may not grant or deny admission if it receives a pledge or statement describing a commitment to a particular political ideology or movement, including a pledge or statement regarding diversity, equality, inclusion, patriotism, or related issues. . or benefit to a student, or hire, rehire or promote a faculty member, based on the views expressed in the commitment or statement.
c. Nothing in this Act prevents an institution from requiring a student, professor or employee to comply with federal or state laws, including anti-discrimination laws, or from taking action against a student, professor or employee for violations of federal or state laws.
D. Nothing in this Act shall be construed to limit or limit the academic freedom of faculty or to prevent faculty members from teaching, researching, or publishing on diversity, equity, inclusion, patriotism, or other topics.
E. Nothing in this Act prohibits an institution from considering, in good faith, a candidate’s scholarship, teaching, or subject-matter expertise in their given academic field.
F. Each public institution of higher education in the State shall post and make publicly available all training materials used by students, faculty, and staff on nondiscrimination, diversity, equity, inclusion, race, ethnicity, gender, or bias, and all of its policies and such Guidelines, on its website.
G. A person whose rights have been violated by a violation of this Act may bring an action in a state or federal court of competent jurisdiction for declaratory relief or an injunction against a public institution of higher education and against its agents acting in their official capacity in violation of this Act. If a court finds a violation of this Act, the court shall award a prevailing plaintiff appropriate equitable remedies and award damages, reasonable court costs and attorney’s fees.
H. The Attorney General may sue to enjoin a policy or practice prohibited by Section A or Section B.
I. If an institution, or any of its employees acting in their official capacity, is found by a court or institution to have violated this Act, the institution may take disciplinary action against the responsible employee in accordance with the institution’s policies and procedures.
J. In addition to any relief under Sections G and H, [State Fiscal Officer] A State shall impose an administrative penalty of $100,000 against an educational institution for each violation of this Act Fines must be paid [State Treasury] and shall be allocated to each state educational institution that is not currently in violation of this Act and has not violated this Act within the preceding two fiscal years.
[A.] Apart from any relief under clauses G and H, [State Fiscal Officer] For each violation of this Act a state shall impose an administrative penalty of $30 per student enrolled in the institution on a full-time basis during the fiscal year preceding the violation. Fines must be paid [State Treasury] and shall be allocated to each state educational institution that is not currently in violation of this Act and has not violated this Act within the preceding two fiscal years.
[B.] Apart from any relief under clauses G and H, [State Fiscal Officer] For each violation of this act a state educational institution shall impose an administrative penalty on the lessee of $300,000 or 1% of the state educational institution’s budget in the fiscal year preceding the violation. Fines must be paid [State Treasury] and shall be allocated to each State educational institution which is not currently in violation of this Act and has not been in violation of this Act during the preceding two fiscal years]
K. Any action brought pursuant to Section G must be brought within 1 year of the latest date on which the Act is alleged to have been violated.
L. If any provision of this chapter, or the application of any provision to any person or circumstance, is held invalid, the remainder of this chapter and the application of its provisions to any other person or circumstance shall not be affected thereby.
Disclosure: I was engaged by FIRE to briefly consult on a portion of this project. Remember that it does no Supports laws that limit the teaching of certain materials in the classroom (“Nothing in this Act shall be construed to limit or limit the academic freedom of faculty or to prevent faculty members from teaching, researching, or writing publications about diversity, equity, inclusion, patriotism, or other issues.” “), and indeed FIRE has successfully challenged Florida laws that restrict such education.