Legislation Limiting ‘Divisive Teachings’ In Universities Heads To Gov. Lee For Signature
Image Credit: capitol.tn.gov
The Tennessee Conservative [By Jason Vaughn] –
The Tennessee Legislature has passed an Act that would prevent public higher education students and employees from being required to conform to “divisive concepts” or be graded based upon agreeing with those concepts. The legislation now is headed to Governor Lee’s desk to be signed into law.
Senate Bill 2290, sponsored by Senator Mike Bell (R-Riceville-District 9) and House Bill 2670, sponsored by Speaker of the House Cameron Sexton (R-Crossville-District 25), were introduced on February 1st and 2nd respectively, and have had several amendments added during the legislative process.
An early Amendment to the House Bill rewrote the legislation as follows:
1) Prohibits a public institution of higher education (institution) from conducting any mandatory training of students or employees if the training includes one or more divisive concepts and prohibits discrimination if the students or employees assent to one or more divisive concept. Prohibits the institutions from requiring students or employees to reveal or endorse a specific ideology or political viewpoint to be eligible for hiring, tenure, promotion, or graduation. Prohibits the institutions from using state-appropriated funds to incentivize, beyond payment of regular salary or other regular compensation, a faculty member to incorporate one or more divisive concepts into academic formula.
2) Requires an institution to investigate any complaint of a violation within 10 days from the institution’s receipt of the complaint. Authorizes particular actions that the institution can take if an employee is found to be in violation of this act.
3) Requires each institution to report the aggregate number of complaints, the investigative findings, and the actions taken for a violation of this section for the previous calendar year to the Education Committees of the Senate and the House of Representatives by January 1, 2023 of each year.
4) Requires each institution to conduct a biennial survey through July 1, 2028, of the institution’s students and employees that assesses the campus climate with regard to diversity and campus freedom of speech. Requires the institution to publish the survey results on the institutions website.
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Later Senate amendments, that the House conformed to, removed numbers 2 and 3 listed above but added a statement in number 4 that reads “Requires such survey to be presented to various committees of the General Assembly.”
The Act states that the legislation will immediately take effect upon being signed into law.
About the Author: Jason Vaughn, Media Coordinator for The Tennessee Conservative ~ Jason previously worked for a legacy publishing company based in Crossville, TN in a variety of roles through his career. Most recently, he served as Deputy Director for their flagship publication. Prior, he was a freelance journalist writing articles that appeared in the Herald Citizen, the Crossville Chronicle and The Oracle among others. He graduated from Tennessee Technological University with a Bachelor’s in English-Journalism, with minors in Broadcast Journalism and History. Contact Jason at news@TennesseeConservativeNews.com