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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Bill would ban teacher ‘advocacy’

    Sen. Verschoor
    Sen. Verschoor

    A bill that could ban professors in Arizona public universities from supporting or condoning any social, political or cultural issue while teaching has provoked a concerned reaction at the UA.

    Jerry Hogle, Vice Provost for Instruction, said legislation of this kind is unnecessary and that the UA is making a case through lobbying groups to stop the bill.

    “”The bill is an excessive reaction to a small problem,”” Hogle said. “”We don’t want restrictions on academic freedom and it is a myth of some people that faculty members are persuading students.””

    The bill is written in relation to the Academic Bill of Rights, which states that students be protected from any kind of imposed political, religious or ideological ideas.

    Hogle said the way the bill stands now, a history class would be considered as political advocacy because of the nature of the content.

    Senate Bill 1542, if passed, prohibits public university instructors from “”advocating one side of a social, political or cultural issue that is a matter of partisan controversy.””

    The bill also prohibits instructors from supporting and opposing elected officials, legislation and litigations on all levels of government. Instructors would also be prohibited from supporting or hindering military recruitment on campus.

    Instructors in violation of prohibited activities are subject to firing, suspension or a possible $500 fine for each violation, according to the bill.

    If passed, instructors are required to go through three hours of annual training, informing them of their responsibilities regarding prohibited activities.

    Republican Majority Leader, Senator Thayer Verschoor, the bill’s sponsor, declined to comment.

    “”There is no merit to this bill,”” Hogle said. “”The bill is based on the premise that a vast majority of faculty are extreme radicals who impose on students their political views.””

    Hogle said policies and regulations are already in place should any such problems occur with faculty.

    “”We ask faculty members to exercise critical self-discipline and judgment in what they teach, and when a faculty member disregards our policies we have set regulations to deal with the situation,”” Hogle said.

    The Arizona Board of Regents is aware of the bill and will not taken a stance on the issue until its next meeting, which will take place March 8 and 9 at the UA.

    “”Senate Bill 1542 may not look like the way it is now once it’s out of the senate,”” said Fred Boice, president elect of the Arizona Board of Regents. “”The board hasn’t acted on it and we will wait and see as the bill progresses.””

    Boice said the main concern is how restrictive the bill is on teaching, and that education’s purpose is to ensure that students are informed about different politics and ideas.

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