Home / General / New Indiana law allows tenured professors to be fired if students don’t think they’re promoting “intellectual diversity”

New Indiana law allows tenured professors to be fired if students don’t think they’re promoting “intellectual diversity”

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What could possibly go wrong?

new Indiana law allows universities to revoke a professor’s tenure if they don’t promote so-called “intellectual diversity” in the classroom.

Supporters of the measure say it will make universities more accepting of conservative students and academics. But many professors worry the law could put their careers in jeopardy for what they say, or don’t say, in the classroom.

“I’d say it ends tenure in the state of Indiana as we know it,” said Ben Robinson, associate professor of Germanic Studies at Indiana University. . .

The law also creates a system where students and staff can submit complaints that could be considered in tenure reviews.

University leaders in Indiana are divided on the issue. IU president Pamela Whitten criticized the measure as it was working through the legislature, saying it threatens “the economic and cultural vitality of the state.”

“We are deeply concerned about language regarding faculty tenure that would put academic freedom at risk, weaken the intellectual rigor essential to preparing students with critical thinking skills, and damage our ability to compete for the world-class faculty who are at the core of what makes IU an extraordinary research institution,” she wrote.

The notion that “intellectual diversity” is by definition desirable inside a university classroom is nonsense, as I’ve argued before. Intellectual diversity is good when it advances the creation and dissemination of knowledge, and bad when it harms those things, which are why the university exists in the first place.

Obviously “intellectual diversity” is being used here as a code phrase for “right wing political ideology,” no matter how inimical that ideology may be to the whole knowledge creation and dissemination process, which by the way is a lot, although you can now lose tenure at an Indiana university for pointing this out.

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