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Letter to the Editor: Bill's purpose is to protect students

Sunday, May 6, 2007

To the editor:I would like respond to several recently published articles which misrepresent House bill 213.

Sources quoted in the articles claim that HB 213 is bad legislation and poor governance, claiming that HB 213 creates a situation where the state will be given power equal to that enjoyed by the leaders of the Salem witch hunt, Adolph Hitler and Joseph Stalin. They argue that if HB 213 becomes law, the legislature would be granted extensive power over the higher-education curriculum and the majority political party would presumably use HB 213 as a tool to begin crafting an educational agenda that reflects its ideology as a means to indoctrinate students to that ideology.

HB 213 gives no more authority to legislators than already exists. HB 213 does not dictate curriculum. HB 213 does not monitor what and how professors teach in the classroom. Nor does HB 213 cost colleges any money.

HB 213 requires publicly funded colleges to report on steps taken to ensure intellectual diversity. Most colleges claim to already have effective intellectual diversity policies. However, the General Assembly, within its oversight powers, wants to know what those policies are and why they are effective.

The goal of HB 213 is to send a message that protecting students' viewpoints is an important state function. And if the protection of diverse viewpoints in democracy is not vital, then I don't know what is.

JEREMY HAGEN, Executive Director, Missouri College Republicans, Missouri State University, Springfield, Mo.