Field of Science

Contact your congressperson tomorrow

H.F. No.3922....from hereon noted as HF Puffinstuff

H.F. No. 3922, as introduced - 85th Legislative Session (2007-2008) Posted on Mar 10, 2008
1.1 A bill for an act
1.2 relating to higher education; enacting the Free Speech for Faculty and Students
1.3Bill of Rights; proposing coding for new law in Minnesota Statutes, chapter
1.4135A.
1.5 BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA:

1.6 Section 1. [135A.147] ACADEMIC FREEDOM AND FREE SPEECH BILL OF
1.7RIGHTS.
1.8 Subdivision 1. Citation. This section shall be referred to as the "Free Speech for
1.9Faculty and Students Bill of Rights."
1.10 Subd. 2. Definitions. The definitions in this subdivision apply to this section.
1.11For the purposes of this section:
1.12(1) "faculty" means a person who is a member of the faculty of the institution or is
1.13an instructor at the institution; and
1.14(2) "postsecondary institution" means a public or private postsecondary institution
1.15located in Minnesota that accepts state appropriations including state appropriations for
1.16financial aid.
1.17 Subd. 3. Policy required. Each governing board of a postsecondary institution shall
1.18adopt a policy recognizing the following rights.
1.19 (a) The institution shall provide students with a learning environment in which the
1.20students have access to a broad range of serious scholarly opinion pertaining to the subjects
1.21of study. The fostering of a plurality of serious scholarly methodologies and perspectives
1.22shall be a significant institutional purpose. In addition, curricula and reading lists shall
1.23make students aware of the existence of dissenting scholarly sources and viewpoints.
2.1 (b) Students must be graded solely on the basis of reasoned answers and appropriate
2.2knowledge of the subjects and disciplines studied.
2.3(c) Students must not be discriminated against on the basis of political, ideological,
2.4or religious beliefs.
2.5 (d) University and college administrators, student government organizations, and
2.6institutional policies, rules, or procedures shall not infringe the freedom of speech,
2.7freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, or freedom of conscience of students and
2.8student organizations when addressing or inculcating serious scholarly view points.
2.9(e) Faculty academic freedom must not supercede the academic freedom of students.
2.10 (f) The institution shall distribute student fee funds on a fair and equitable basis and
2.11shall maintain a posture of neutrality with respect to substantive political and religious
2.12disagreements, differences, and opinions. The selection of speakers, allocation of funds
2.13for speakers' programs, and other student activities must observe the principles of
2.14academic freedom and promote the presentation of a diversity of opinions on intellectual
2.15matters. Except as provided by law, the institution shall not permit the obstruction of
2.16invited campus speakers or the destruction of student newspapers or campus literature
2.17promoting campus events.
2.18 (g) Faculty are free to pursue and discuss their findings and perspectives in
2.19presenting views, but shall make students aware of the existence of serious scholarly
2.20viewpoints other than their own through classroom discussion or dissemination of written
2.21materials, and shall encourage civil debate and the critical analysis of ideas in the pursuit
2.22of knowledge and truth.
2.23 (h) Faculty must be hired, fired, promoted, or granted tenure on the basis of
2.24competence and appropriate knowledge in their field of expertise.
2.25 (i) Faculty must not be hired, fired, promoted, granted tenure, or denied promotion
2.26or tenure on the basis of political, ideological, or religious beliefs.
2.27 (j) Faculty must not be excluded from tenure, search, and hiring committees on the
2.28basis of political, ideological, or religious beliefs.
2.29 (k) The institution and its professional societies shall maintain a posture of
2.30organizational neutrality with respect to methods, facts, and theories which have been
2.31validated by proven research.
2.32 Subd. 4. Grievance procedure. The governing board of each postsecondary
2.33institution shall adopt a grievance procedure by which a student or faculty member may
2.34seek redress for an alleged violation of any of the rights specified by the institution's
2.35policy adopted under subdivision 3.
3.1 Subd. 5. Notice of rights. The governing board of each postsecondary institution
3.2shall provide students and faculty with notice of the rights and the grievance procedure
3.3adopted under subdivisions 3 and 4 by publication in the institution's course catalog,
3.4student handbook, and Web site.


So what's the problem with this little bill? Well, first this bill has been introduced in several states including Florida and many other states. No matter how its couched, this bill is simply a way to legislate creationism. In this case, it doesn't require equal time or even the mention of creationism. No, this bill simply provides legal protection to those teachers who wish to present creationism as a viable alternative to evolution or to simply point out the "short comings" of evolutionary theory in a completely inappropriate and duplicitous manner. Ah well, lying for Jesus, it wasn't such a big part of Christianity when I was growing up, but apparently things have changed.

Here are my specific concerns as a college professor.
(a) The institution shall provide students with a learning environment in which the students have access to a broad range of serious scholarly opinion pertaining to the subjects of study. The fostering of a plurality of serious scholarly methodologies and perspectives shall be a significant institutional purpose. In addition, curricula and reading lists shall make students aware of the existence of dissenting scholarly sources and viewpoints.
So I am legally bound to present dissenting viewpoints. OK, what warrants a dissenting viewpoint? Anyone, anyone, Bueller? What is a scholarly source? Does screed from the Discovery Institute constitute scholarly? What about Behe's horrendous work? He writes books, that seems scholarly. What about the deranged guy on the mall spouting off about every afternoon, is that scholarly?

There is no doubt in my mind that this is completely and totally about creationism and forcing religion into any little hole these pukes can get it. Think I'm wrong? Well let me ask you this, does anyone think the republican representatives Steve Drazkowski, Tom Emmer, Sondra Erickson, Bud Heidgerken, or Mark Olson (the sponors of the bill) want to ensure that during a class on the New Testament in religious studies/theology, significant time is given to the Islamic point of view that Jesus is not the Messiah and that Muhammad was the last prophet of Allah? I kind of doubt it.

b) Students must be graded solely on the basis of reasoned answers and appropriate knowledge of the subjects and disciplines studied.

Notice there is nothing about being correct or accurate, simply reasoned and appropriate knowledge. If I ask a question about ways in which evolutionary relationships can be determined among a group of organisms, then a student who turns in a well written (which I expect is the definition of reasoned here) argument about how the question fails because all life was created as is 6000 years ago should get credit?!?!!? Bite me.

(c) Students must not be discriminated against on the basis of political, ideological, or religious beliefs.

Good idea, because discrimination is so well tolerated at Universities and Colleges across the country. This just in from the University of Minnesota Board of Regents Policy Student Conduct Code

SECTION III. GUIDING PRINCIPLES.

(a) The University seeks an environment that promotes academic achievement and integrity, that is protective of free inquiry, and that serves the educational mission of the University.

(b) The University seeks a community that is free from violence, threats, and intimidation; that is respectful of the rights, opportunities, and welfare of students, faculty, staff, and guests of the University; and that does not threaten the physical or mental health or safety of members of the University community.

(c) The University is dedicated to responsible stewardship of its resources and to protecting its property and resources from theft, damage, destruction, or misuse.

(d) The University supports and is guided by state and federal law while also setting its own standards of conduct for its academic community.

(e) The University is dedicated to the rational and orderly resolution of conflict.


I think that hits on many of the points this bill is pretending to address. Maybe this is a better way to put it....Ill turn the floor over to Dr. M. Python:
HELP HELP, IM BEING REPRESSED!

1 comment:

i wonder said...

Dr. M Python, may have a point, sadly, those who are watching that currently are probably a tad too apathetic. Hope you are lighting a fire under your students/faculty or MN will end up like KS