Arizona State Legislator Introduces Bill Modeled on Campus Intellectual Diversity Act

National Association of Scholars

NAS is pleased to learn that Arizona State Representative Anthony Kern (R) has filed HB 2238, a new bill designed to promote intellectual diversity at Arizona State University, Northern Arizona University, and the University of Arizona. HB 2238 closely reflects Stanley Kurtz’s model state-level intellectual diversity legislation, the Campus Intellectual Diversity Act (CIDA). CIDA was first published at NAS, and NAS swiftly endorsed it.

Kurtz drafted CIDA in response to the growing trend on college campuses toward ideological homogeneity and activist “shout-downs.” Far too often, speakers with views that contradict progressive orthodoxy are invited to campus only to have their event canceled by student violence, or the threat of violence. Campuses frequently turn a blind eye to such incidents and thereby implicitly endorse cancel culture. This creates an echo chamber in which only progressive perspectives are considered acceptable. NAS believes that HB 2238, and similar bills aimed at promoting diverse views on campus, would ameliorate this widespread problem by requiring public universities to actively promote intellectual diversity.

Kurtz’s full explanation of the bill can be found here. The primary purpose of this bill is to establish an Office of Public Policy Events within every institution under the Arizona Board of Regents. HB 2238 states that this office would be required to “organize, publicize, and stage debates, group forums, and individual lectures that address, from multiple, diverging and opposing perspectives, an extensive range of public policy issues that are widely discussed and debated in society at large.” In addition, the bill includes the provision that “the Office of Public Policy Events shall prioritize inviting speakers from outside the university who hold perspectives … that are otherwise poorly represented on campus.” The introduction of this first-of-its-kind bill is a bold step toward true intellectual diversity within American higher education.

NAS enthusiastically supports HB 2238. We are delighted to learn about Representative Kern’s commitment to intellectual diversity on Arizona campuses. We hope the bill will become law, and as swiftly as possible.


Image: David Pinter, Public Domain 

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