Arizona House Passes Intellectual Diversity Legislation

National Association of Scholars

Late last week, the Arizona House of Representatives passed HB 2238, a bill designed to bolster intellectual diversity within the state’s public colleges and universities. It is the first state legislature in the country to do so. NAS applauds the Arizona House for taking this important step towards intellectual diversity in higher education.

HB 2238 was first introduced by Representative Anthony Kern (R) and is modeled on Stanley Kurtz’s Campus Intellectual Diversity Act (CIDA). The CIDA focuses on the creation of Offices of Public Policy Events. These offices would operate as stand-alone entities on each campus, tasked with organizing debates, forums, and speeches that feature diverse viewpoints on a host of contentious issues. This would in turn stimulate intellectually diverse discourse on campus, a much-needed change at a time when academic departments and student groups seem to want anything but intellectual pluralism. 

Arizona was the first to propose such a bill, but is not alone—Missouri, Iowa, and, most recently, Kansas have followed suit. These bills may spark a national wave of campus legislation to combat the pervasive ideological homogeneity within higher education. NAS urges the Arizona State Senate to pass HB 2238—as well as the other state legislatures considering similar bills.

Image: Gage Skidmore, Public Domain 

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