- Obama shortens sentence of inmate from Cape (1/19/17)9
- Jackson police describe night of anger, car crashes, drug possession by 18-year-old (1/22/17)5
- Area hospitals hope a box helps prevent infant deaths (1/19/17)6
- A message from heaven (1/23/17)
- Local students to perform with choir at inauguration (1/19/17)3
- Southeast to lose $3.5 million from state in budget cuts (1/18/17)21
- Subjects of interest in 1992 killing take polygraph tests; results not revealed (1/18/17)2
- Meat-processing plant faces $70K penalty for Clean Water Act violations (1/17/17)4
- Area residents among those attending inauguration, women's march (1/22/17)90
- Comedian, cancer survivor Tom Green headlines sold-out Cancer Center benefit (1/22/17)
When students enroll in college, they have a fair expectation that they will be exposed to many ideas, some of which they agree with and some of which they don't. Furthermore, they have a right to expect that their professors will not only share their ideas, but be reasonable in providing opportunities for students to be heard, too.
A bill in the Missouri Legislature would impose regulatory controls on the give and take that occurs on college campuses. Some proponents of the bill believe there is too much give and not enough take. Indeed, some students at publicly funded college campuses in the state say they are intimidated by some professors and either aren't allowed to express their personal viewpoints or are penalized for holding different views.
That's wrong. College classrooms should be forums for exploration and experimentation. No faculty member should be allowed to co-opt the thinking processes of students.
The Emily Brooker Intellectual Diversity Act was named for a Missouri State University student who claims her freedoms of speech and religion were violated by a professor who demanded that she sign a letter in support of allowing homosexuals to be foster parents. Her lawsuit against the university was settled out of court.
Some opponents of the proposed bill believe there is a hidden agenda in the proposed diversity act that could be used to force a particular religious or political ideology on faculty members or students. If that's the case, such language has no business in this legislation.
University and college administrators owe it to their students and faculty to make sure there is a process for handling concerns about instructional diversity and the free flow of ideas and opinions. Without a mechanism to deal with such concerns, legislators will continue to be motivated to pass restrictive bills.