The Ohio Higher Education Advancement Act draws US government leaders to its third hearing

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The undergraduate student government and members of the Ohio community debated the Ohio Higher Education Advancement Act in a third hearing Wednesday. Credit: Joe Carpenter | lantern reporter

An undergraduate government often defies Ohio, but at Wednesday’s hearing on the “Ohio Education Development Act,” it defied the state government instead.

At the third hearing, opponents, supporters, and interested parties from across Ohio made oral statements and answered questions from the Ohio Senate Workforce and Higher Education Committee. The bill has come under scrutiny because It bans mandatory diversity training, bars employees in higher education from striking and bans the university and its staff from taking public office over “controversial beliefs or politics.”

Jerry Serino, R-Kirtland, the bill’s primary sponsor, said during the committee hearing over nine pages of names of individuals sought their opinions on the bill. Most of the speakers were in opposition. Five people have spoken in favor of the bill, according to the Workforce and Higher Education Commission website.

The committee addressed some of the biggest issues related to the bill and its potential implications.

USG President Bobby McAlpine and Vice President Madison Mason represented the student body’s opinion after conducting a survey to collect students’ “opinions on topics that could directly affect them, and to provide a space for students to express their position on such topics through meaningful channels, as USG stated in an email Email to students Survey responses accepted until Wednesday.

McAlpine, a third-year electrical engineering and political science student, said the survey reached more than 1,600 students and wanted to know whether students in higher education feel indoctrinated with “liberal beliefs,” which the bill claims Ohio public institutions are now practicing. .

“The numbers are clear: 82 percent of students who responded to this survey do not believe that Ohio State faculty, staff, or administration seek to impose certain political beliefs on them,” McAlpine said.

Mason, a political science sophomore, read a letter of dissent not only endorsed and signed by her and McAlpine, but also by 16 other student body leaders from schools across Ohio—such as Bowling Green State University, Cleveland State University, and Cleveland University. Miami.

Earlier today, Honesty for Ohio Education — an organization focused on advocating for education — held a press conference at the Ohio State House to oppose the bill.

at the press conference, Ohio State student Clovis Westlund and Professor Pranav Jani have joined other advocates in education, civil rights, and labor to warn about the dangers they see in the Higher Education Promotion Act.

Supporters of the bill, including Sereno, said the bill is designed to expand intellectual diversity. on March 15th press releaseSereno said the bill would help make sure universities “teach kids how to think, not what to think”.

The bill must pass the Workforce and Higher Education Committee before the Senate can vote on it and be signed into law by Governor Mike DeWine.