In Arizona, a state Senate committee approved a bill that would make the First Amendment null and void at that state’s universities. In the name of promoting tolerance and diversity of thought on campus, committee has decided to ban professors from doing the following:
*Endorsing, supporting or opposing any candidate for local, state or national office.
*Endorsing, supporting or opposing any pending legislation, regulation or rule under consideration by local, state or federal agencies.
*Endorsing, supporting or opposing any litigation in any court.
*Advocating â€œone side of a social, political, or cultural issue that is a matter of partisan controversy.â€
*Hindering military recruiting on campus or endorsing the activities of those who do.
Under the legislation, the Arizona Board of Regents, which governs the stateâ€™s public universities, and the individual boards of community colleges would be responsible for setting guidelines for the law and for requiring all faculty members to participate in three hours of training annually on their responsibilities under the law.
Punishments could come in two forms. The governing boardsâ€™ guidelines would need to develop procedures, including suspensions and terminations in some cases, according to the bill. In addition, the state attorney general and county prosecutors could sue violators, and state courts could impose fines of up to $500. The legislation would bar colleges or their insurance policies from paying the fines â€” money would need to be paid directly by the professors found guilty.
In other words, if a professor dares to have a political thought, let alone express it, they could be sued and fined $500.
In Orwellian logic, the bill sponsor, Republican state Senator Thayor Verschoor had this:
â€œIn our institutions of higher education, students should be learning how to think, not what to think.
In other words, Senator Verschoor only wants students to be taught what he wants you to think, not have your mind challenged by different thoughts and opinions.
Fortunately, student leaders and professors have come out against this bill. In addition, the man behind the Academic Bill of Rights, David Horowitz, has come out against it.
The First Amendment should not be the casualty of the outrageous actions of the Ward Churchills of our university campuses.