Illustration by: Andre Hunter, Charles Deloye / Unsplash / Truthout

Ohioans invested in the integrity and well-being of public universities across the state breathed a sigh of relief in late June after Ohio Senate Bill 83 — Republicans’ big push to overhaul higher education across the state — failed in its bid to become law before the summer recess began.

A few of the bill’s lowlights — in its original and revised forms — include:

  • banning and regulating how educators teach topics or use concepts that the GOP specifies as “controversial” or “ideological,” including climate change, structural racism, allyship, gender identity, diversity, foreign policy, abortion, immigration policy, marriage, and concepts like oppressor/oppressed;
  • conducting surveillance (including “post-tenure review”) of faculty deemed to be “indoctrinating” students;
  • banning strikes at universities and restricting faculty voices;
  • banning mandatory diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) trainings and programs; and
  • imposing some boycotts on universities (banning relations with Chinese institutions) while forbidding others (no “boycotts, divestment, sanctions” campaigns, clearly referring to the Palestine solidarity movement, BDS).

SB 83 teems with contradictions. Universities are told not to take positions on matters of public debate […]

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