On March 14, State Senator Jerry Cirino (Republican; Ohio Senate District 18) introduced Senate Bill 83, “The Ohio Higher Education Enhancement Act,” to the Senate Workforce and Higher Education Committee.
In the name of “free speech” and under the guise of “intellectual diversity,” the bill contributes to the ongoing national assault on public education that aims to dismantle equitable admissions and hiring processes; to repeal existing DEI initiatives and disband DEI committees; to prohibit the critical study of race, gender, and sexuality; to mandate what can be taught and further saturate core curricula with Christianity-affiliated religious nationalism; and to remove any book not aligned with such ideologies from curricula and library shelves.
The Ohio State University Chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) has put together a helpful summary of Senate Bill 83. The summary succinctly outlines the bill’s fifteen issue areas and their implications for institutions such as The Ohio State University. Recorded video testimonies for the 3rd hearing on S.B. 83, which unfolded on April 19th lasted over 7 hours, can be viewed on The Ohio Channel; all of the speakers’ written testimonies are available for download on Ohio Senate’s website.
Further reading about the bill and its potential effects can be found at the following links:
- Pranav Jani, “‘We Can’t Take This Lying Down.’ Draconian Bill Aimed at OSU, Other Colleges,” The Columbus Dispatch (16 March 2023)
- Morgan Trau, “Ohio Bill Limits, and Mandates, What is Taught in College in the Name of Free Speech,” Ohio Capital Journal (16 March 2023)
- Kate Marijolovic, “The Ohio Bill Wouldn’t Just Ban Diversity Training. It Would Reshape Higher Ed,” The Chronicle of Higher Education (30 March 2023)
- Rosemary Pennington, “Destructive Bill Would Dismantle Cherished Ohio Universities, Economy,” The Columbus Dispatch (5 April 2023)