WASHINGTON, D.C. – A handful of Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives are introducing legislation they say will prevent colleges and universities from using a political litmus test in their hiring staff, even students.
U.S. Representative Fred Keller says the legislation called the “Restoring Academic Freedom On Campus Act” will ensure higher education institutions are not compelling faculty, students or applicants to identify their commitment to any partisan or ideological set of beliefs as part of their hiring process or student selection process.
They say universities like UCLA and Stanford make hiring and promotion decisions after taking a candidates’ ‘diversity, equity and inclusion’ statement into account.
Universities like UCLA have a diversity statement saying they want to make their student bodies and staff as diverse as possible, getting people from all backgrounds. However, Keller says they use these diversity statements as a litmus test, which could discriminate on political or ideological grounds.
“When we’re talking about restoring academic freedom in our universities and colleges, it’s the first amendment,” said Keller. “A diversity of opinion should be welcomed in educational settings and there shouldn’t be anyone can get disqualified because you believe something else.”
In this legislation, it would prohibit higher ed institutions from compelling an individual to identify a particular viewpoint on an issue of public controversy or promotes a specific partisan or political set of beliefs and more.