Chronicle of Higher Education, Iowa Bill Would Force Universities to Consider Political Affiliation in Faculty Hiring:
Iowa’s public universities would have to base faculty-hiring decisions on applicants’ political-party affiliations under a bill pending before the State Senate’s Education Committee.
The measure, SF 288, would require the state’s three public universities to gather voter-registration data on prospective instructors and not make any hire that would cause either Democrats or Republicans on an institution’s faculty to outnumber each other by more than 10 percent. ...
The bill does not specify which political party it regards as underrepresented on campuses. But its sponsor, State Sen. Mark Chelgren, is a conservative Republican who previously has criticized the faculties of Iowa’s public universities. Two years ago he proposed an unusual bill that would have subjected even tenured professors to being fired if enough students gave them poor evaluations or voted for their dismissal. In an interview on Tuesday, Senator Chelgren said his latest measure would promote both ideological diversity and ideological transparency at the state’s three public universities. ...
The Iowa Board of Regents declared its opposition to the bill in a statement issued on Tuesday afternoon by Josh Lehman, a board spokesman. "We expect our universities to hire the most qualified faculty to teach our students, and we believe in diversity of thought," Mr. Lehman said.
The bill was denounced as "wackadoodle" by State Sen. Herman C. Quirmbach, a Democrat who is a top member of the Senate Education Committee and an associate professor of economics at Iowa State University. "The notion that we would have some sort of political litmus test in hiring faculty is abhorrent. It is blatant violation of academic freedom," Senator Quirmbach said. ...
Similar legislation, calling for the ideological balance of the faculties of North Carolina’s public universities to closely reflect party-registration figures in that state, was proposed and shelved on Monday night as part of a debate over a bill, H 39, to shrink the University of North Carolina’s Board of Governors.
Inside Higher Education, Iowa Bill Would Force 'Partisan Balance' In Faculty Hiring:
It’s no secret that the [Iowa] bill would likely adversely affect Democrats, since academics tend to swing to the political left. Others have criticized what they call academe's lack of "intellectual" or "ideological" diversity, but Chelgren's proposal takes such concerns to another level. ... There’s already been some negative reaction to the bill, with the liberal political blog Iowa Starting Line calling it an “ideological litmus test.”
The North Carolina Senate on Monday night tabled a similar amendment regarding the University of North Carolina System, The Charlotte Observer reported. It would have required tenure-track and tenured faculty members to “reflect the ideological balance of the citizens of the state,” so that no campus “shall have a faculty ideological balance of greater or less than 2 percent of the ideological balance” of North Carolinians.
Update: Heterodox Academy, Iowa State Senator Proposes Misguided Diversity Bill