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Should Universities Be Required By Law to Hire an Equal Number of Liberal & Conservative Professors?

In Iowa, a bill is being pushed in the Senate that would require public universities to hire an equal number of liberal and conservative professors, USA Today reports. The proposal, written by conservative State Senator Mark Chelgren, would put a hiring freeze into place until the number of liberal and conservative professors is equal within 10 percent of each other. It is meant to balance political biases on campus. 

Chelgren believes that students should be able to “go to their professors and ask them questions without worrying about that professor’s political leanings or ideas,” according to USA Today. 

Chelgren also said, “I’m pretty confident that any student that goes to any university anywhere in the United States of America has experienced intimidation for their conservative political views,” according to NBC

Patrick Wronkiewicz, chair of the University of Iowa College Republicans, seems to support the idea behind the proposal. “I think it’s going to be difficult to enforce it, but campuses have a definite liberal bias,” he told USA Today. He believes that bias against conservative thought is an issue at campuses, and he wants to see staff and administration become more tolerant of contrasting views. However, he didn’t think that this bill would be the best way to solve it. 

And many agree that this proposal would not be beneficial to college campuses. Critics, including members of the American Civic Liberties Union (ACLU), argue that the bill is unnecessary. Rita Bettis, the legal director of the ACLU, told NBC, “This bill, SF 288, mandates that decisions about whether to hire faculty be made not on the basis of who is best qualified for the position, but instead, on a candidate’s political party affiliation. It specifically exempts those who have declared no party. In that way, it infringes not only on the academic freedom and free speech of faculty members, it also limits their core political rights by making employment contingent on either having the ‘right’ political party or having no political party.” 

The majority of college professors on college campuses today are liberal. The question is whether or not this is a true problem facing our higher education system. 

Lindsey is an alumna of the University of New Haven and a current graduate student at Emerson College in Publishing and Writing. Outside of work and school, she enjoys playing guitar, watching football (Go Patriots!) and cooking. Follow her on Twitter @authorlindsey or on her blog/website at https://allenwriter.com/. 
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