126th General Assembly
S. B. No. 24
Senators Mumper, Jordan, Cates, Wachtmann
To enact sections 3345.80 and 3345.81 of the Revised Code to establish the academic bill of rights for higher education.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF OHIO:
Section 1. That sections 3345.80 and 3345.81 of the Revised Code be enacted to read as follows:
Sec. 3345.80. The board of trustees of each state institution of higher education, as defined in section 3345.011 of the Revised Code, and the board of trustees or other governing authority of each private institution of higher education that holds a certificate of authorization issued under section 1713.02 of the Revised Code shall adopt a policy recognizing that the students, faculty, and instructors of the institution have the following rights:
(A) The institution shall provide its students with a learning environment in which the students have access to a broad range of serious scholarly opinion pertaining to the subjects they study. In the humanities, the social sciences, and the arts, the fostering of a plurality of serious scholarly methodologies and perspectives shall be a significant institutional purpose. In addition, curricula and reading lists in the humanities and social studies shall respect all human knowledge in these areas and provide students with dissenting sources and viewpoints.
(B) Students shall be graded solely on the basis of their reasoned answers and appropriate knowledge of the subjects and disciplines they study and shall not be discriminated against on the basis of their political, ideological, or religious beliefs. Faculty and instructors shall not use their courses or their positions for the purpose of political, ideological, religious, or antireligious indoctrination.
(C) Faculty and instructors shall not infringe the academic freedom and quality of education of their students by persistently introducing controversial matter into the classroom or coursework that has no relation to their subject of study and that serves no legitimate pedagogical purpose.
(D) University administrators, student government organizations, and institutional policies, rules, or procedures shall not infringe the freedom of speech, freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, and freedom of conscience of students and student organizations.
(E) The institution shall distribute student fee funds on a viewpoint-neutral basis and shall maintain a posture of neutrality with respect to substantive political and religious disagreements, differences, and opinions. The selection of speakers, allocation of funds for speakers' programs, and other student activities shall observe the principles of academic freedom and promote the presentation of a diversity of opinions on intellectual matters. Except as provided by law, the institution shall not permit the obstruction of invited campus speakers, the destruction of campus literature, or other efforts to obstruct a civil exchange of ideas.
(F) Faculty and instructors shall be free to pursue and discuss their own findings and perspectives in presenting their views, but they shall make their students aware of serious scholarly viewpoints other than their own through classroom discussion or dissemination of written materials, and they shall encourage intellectual honesty, civil debate, and the critical analysis of ideas in the pursuit of knowledge and truth.
(G) Faculty and instructors shall be hired, fired, promoted, and granted tenure on the basis of their competence and appropriate knowledge in their field of expertise and shall not be hired, fired, promoted, granted tenure, or denied promotion or tenure on the basis of their political, ideological, or religious beliefs.
(H) Faculty and instructors shall not be excluded from tenure, search, and hiring committees on the basis of their political, ideological, or religious beliefs.
(I) The institution and its professional societies shall maintain a posture of organizational neutrality with respect to the substantive disagreements that divide researchers on questions within, or outside, their fields of inquiry recognizing that:
(1) Knowledge advances when individual scholars are left free to reach their own conclusions about which methods, facts, and theories have been validated by research;
(2) Academic institutions and professional societies formed to advance knowledge within an area of research, maintain the integrity of the research process, and organize the professional lives of related researchers serve as indispensable venues within which scholars circulate research findings and debate their interpretations.
Sec. 3345.81. The board of trustees of each state institution of higher education, as defined in section 3345.011 of the Revised Code, and the board of trustees or other governing authority of each private institution of higher education that holds a certificate of authorization issued under section 1713.02 of the Revised Code, shall adopt a grievance procedure by which a student, faculty member, or instructor may seek redress for an alleged violation of any of the rights specified by the institution's policy adopted under section 3345.80 of the Revised Code. Each board of trustees or other governing authority shall provide students, faculty, and instructors with notice of the rights and grievance procedure by publication in the institution's course catalog, student handbook, and web site.