© 2023 St. Louis Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

MO House approves intellectual diversity bill

By Marshall Griffin, KWMU

Jefferson City, MO – The Missouri House has given initial approval to a bill that would require public universities and colleges to report efforts to protect intellectual diversity.

The bill would require all public colleges and universities to issue an annual report. It would detail what they're doing to guarantee students are not harassed or flunked by their professors for having a different opinion on politics, religion, or other social issues.

It's sponsored by Rep. Jane Cunningham (R-Chesterfield): "We also have a survey, where they polled 600-700 students at Missouri State University and University of Missouri-Columbia, showing that 51% of the students feel like they have to agree with their professor in order to get a good grade."

Opponents fear the bill would have the opposite effect and stifle academic freedom for students of all political persuasions.

The bill is opposed by Democratic Representative Rebecca McClanahan of Kirksville. She's also a Nursing instructor at Truman State University: "I think the bill is potentially dangerous for all points of view, and I think that could have a chilling effect on faculty and on students' exploration of what they really need to be doing in higher education."

House members will hold one more formal vote on the bill. It's expected to pass and then move over to the Missouri Senate.