Right tries to curb leftwing faculty

March 5, 2004

A key legislative committee in the US state of Colorado has endorsed a measure giving students the right to file grievances if they believe they have been subjected to a "hostile environment" because of their political opinions.

The bill, which is being pushed largely by conservative interests, would also prohibit faculty from introducing what it calls "controversial" topics in class and from using controversial materials if they are not directly related to the subject of the course.

The measure, which next goes before the full state House of Representatives, is part of an increasingly successful counterattack against the purported liberal dominance of US university campuses, and especially against incidents in which university administrators have silenced forms of speech that they consider politically incorrect.

Congress has held hearings on the matter and, in addition to Colorado, the states of Georgia and Missouri are considering enacting the "academic bill of rights", which is being pursued nationally by the conservative Students for Academic Freedom.

The group says US universities are hostile to conservatives. Its bill of rights would require that the hiring, firing and promotion of faculty be unrelated to their political beliefs and open to public scrutiny; that students not be graded based on their political beliefs; that course content in the humanities and social sciences reflect "diverse" viewpoints and "not just the overwhelmingly leftist content that is being fed to our college students today"; and that campus speakers be selected to promote "intellectual balance".

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