Response to the Columbus Dispatch · 14 September 2005

Filed under: Ohio, Replies to Critics

In his recent article on the compromise over the Academic Bill of Rights between the Inter-University Council of Ohio and the state legislature, Jim Siegel states that Senate Bill 24 would have "clamped down on political discussion in college classrooms" and quotes a dean at Ohio State who says that the bill would have placed unnecessary restrictions on classroom discussion.

It is truly indefensible for your newspaper to repeat these false statements. As we have demonstrated publicly countless times, Senate Bill 24 would not have placed any restrictions on speech in the classroom that are not already contained within the university regulations at Ohio's public universities.

In a study of Ohio's 11 public universities, Students for Academic Freedom found that at least 9 already have policies which restrict professors from persistently introducing irrelevant controversial material in the classroom which are at least as stringent as the language in Senate Bill 24. The legislation was necessary to extend these existing rights directly to students and to ensure that they are enforced.

We are greatly pleased by the agreement worked out between the bill's sponsor, Senator Mumper, and the IUC, which we consider a major victory for the principles of academic freedom and for Ohio's students. But such misleading reporting is inexcusable.

Sara Dogan
National Campus Director
Students for Academic Freedom