Tennessee House Bill 432 and Senate Bill 1117


Filed for intro on 02/03/2005
HOUSE BILL 432
By Campfield
SENATE BILL 1117
By Finney

AN ACT to amend Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 49,
Chapter 7, relative to higher education.

WHEREAS, the General assembly of the state of Tennessee recognizes students' rights
to academic freedom and rights to freedom from discrimination on the basis of political or
religious beliefs; and

WHEREAS, students enrolled in state postsecondary educational institutions have the
right to information concerning grievance procedures for the protection of their academic
freedoms; and

WHEREAS, it is determined to be in the best interests of the state to direct the governing
board of state postsecondary educational institutions to adopt a grievance procedure for use in
enforcing students' rights; now, therefore,

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF TENNESSEE:
SECTION 1. Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 49, Chapter 7, Part 1, is amended by
adding the following as a new appropriately designated section:
49-7-1(__).

(a) Students enrolled in state postsecondary educational institutions shall
have the following rights:

(1) The right to expect that their academic freedom will not be
infringed upon by instructors who create a hostile environment toward
their political or religious beliefs or who introduce controversial matter into
the classroom or course work that is substantially unrelated to the subject
of study;

(2) The right to expect that they will be graded solely on the basis
of their reasoned answers and appropriate knowledge of the subjects
they study and that they shall not be discriminated against on the basis of
their political or religious beliefs;

(3) The right to expect that their academic institutions shall
distribute student fee funds on a viewpoint neutral basis and shall
maintain a posture of neutrality with respect to substantive political or
religious disagreements, differences, and opinions; and

(4) The right to be fully informed of their institutions' grievance
procedures for violations of academic freedom by means of notices
prominently displayed in course catalogues, student handbooks, and on
the institutional web site.

(b) State postsecondary educational institutions shall publicize the
statewide institutional grievance procedure by which a student may seek redress
for an alleged violation of any of the rights specified in this section in course
catalogues, student handbooks, and on the institutional website.

SECTION 2. Tennessee Code Annotated, Section 49-7-202(c), is amended by adding
the following as a new appropriately designated subdivision:
(__) Develop, monitor, and enforce a statewide institutional grievance procedure
by which a student may seek a redress of grievance for an alleged violation of any of the
rights specified in this act.

SECTION 3. The commissioner of the Tennessee higher education commission is
authorized to promulgate rules and regulations to effectuate the purposes of this act. All such
rules and regulations shall be promulgated in accordance with the provisions of Tennessee
Code Annotated, title 4, chapter 5.

SECTION 4. This act shall take effect upon becoming law, the public welfare requiring
it.