The Corner

Education

Model Bill Seeks to Improve Intellectual Diversity on College Campuses

It’s a sad fact that many American college students never get to see intellectual combat in action. They live in ideological monocultures where progressive faculty and administrators feed them the ideas they favor and conservative/libertarian ideas are demonized.

Can anything be done?

Stanley Kurtz of the Ethics and Public Policy Center (and a writer well known to NR readers) has developed a model bill called the Campus Intellectual Diversity Act. In today’s Martin Center article, Jenna Robinson takes a look at its provisions, as well as some of the commentary about the bill.

Its main provisions would:

  • Direct universities to establish an Office of Public Policy Events;
  • Direct the new office to host debates, panel discussions, and individual lectures from a wide diversity of viewpoints on current public policy issues;
  • Direct the new office to keep a yearly calendar of events that is open to inspection by the public and policymakers; and
  • Direct the new office to record each event and make it available for the public to view.

One supporter of the bill is Emory professor Mark Bauerlein, who calls the bill “a good starting point if we want a more civil society.” Another is Peter Wood, president of the National Association of Scholars. Regarding the bill’s efforts at advancing debate, Wood declares that Such debate is needed to ensure that college students acquire a well-rounded understanding of the range of views that shape our state and national discussions on matters of which Americans at large disagree.

But there are detractors as well. John K. Wilson, a leftist who still stands for free speech, thinks that the bill would accomplish little at the cost of adding more administrative cost.

No doubt there will be plenty of debate about this bill to promote debate.

George Leef is the the director of editorial content at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.

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