Sigh. This is the response to the letter I wrote my state Representative about HB 213, which was ostensibly designed to safeguard intellectual diversity. Aside from failing to address a SINGLE argument I made in my letter, this response is really... Yeah. I'll let it speak for itself. if you are interested in reading my letter or the actual legislation text, see my previous post.
Ok, I can't stand it. I've just got to point out that the plaintiff in the case that was the inspiration for this piece of legislation is named Emily Brooker- hence, the "Emily Brooker Intellectual Diversity Act". He refers to it as the "Booker" case. That really makes me feel confident he is telling me the truth when he says "I have read the Bill carefully several times."
But hey. He's got a law degree from UMKC.
Thanks for the email on HB 213. I have read the Bill carefully several times. My academic experience includes, undergraduate study at William Jewell College , with Honors study at Oxford University and a Law Degree from the University of Missouri at Kansas City . I have also served as an Adjunct Professor at William Jewell College for nearly 14 years. During my 15 years as a practicing lawyer, a large part of my practice has been representing plaintiff’s for employment discrimination. These claims have included race based, gender, age, and first amendment, and whistle blower protection claims. I am comfortable in the analysis of constitutional issues.
The Diversity Act is directed at view point discrimination and is neutral on whose view point is protected. Additionally, many universities have adopted policies that have essentially many of the same guidelines as set out in HB 213. Mizzou was the example raised during floor debates. The main difference is that the public educators would have to report to the General Assembly that they have adopted a policy against view point discrimination. For most professors, this law would have virtually no impact on them. For most schools this law will have no impact on them.
Missouri State, however, is the example of what can go wrong when a university forgets what their mission is, open education and not discriminating. In the Booker case, she refused to sign an “advocacy letter” the professor had crafted as it was against her philosophical convictions. The University initially backed the professor and interrogated the student. It took a law suit to force the issue and secure a real remedy.
The Bill as written would protect both a liberal and a conservative student. A Student of Muslim faith could not be discriminated against if he would not agree to sign an advocacy letter that violates his religious beliefs. The socialist student would be free to speak and write as he or she wished and not be graded based on view point, but upon skills in displayed in promoting their ideas.
A pro life law student would not be subjected to different treatment and nor would a pro choice law student.
There has been much proclaimed about this Bill. I do not know if it will be pursued in the Senate. Even so, I think it is important to raise this issue so that students do not have to resort to law suits and faculty is both highly educated and diverse as well.
Thanks for writing to me about this important issue.