Paul L. Caron

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Iowa, North Carolina Bills Would Require 'Partisan Balance' In Faculty Hiring

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

Legal Education | Permalink


There are 8 registered political parties in Iowa. So, balancing faculty of all 8 parties is as ludicrous as balancing 2. This proposed bill is dangerous to civil liberties that we are guaranteed in the Constitution.

Posted by: Spring Graf | Feb 28, 2017 5:45:22 AM

Not exactly a horrible burdensome requirement. All they would have to do is change their party registration to repub if they are short of repubs.

Posted by: richard40 | Feb 24, 2017 12:17:31 PM

Professor Seto, no quotas, just goals to be reviewed by an equal opportunity organization.

Posted by: PaulB | Feb 23, 2017 5:15:29 PM

Well, there are sadly no "good" quotas

Posted by: Randall Shepherd | Feb 23, 2017 2:53:46 PM

Too easy to game. How hard is it to change party affiliation?

Posted by: Jason Yackee | Feb 23, 2017 5:22:54 AM

These bills should be labeled "diversity" bills, extending "diversity" protections to political beliefs. Let the Democrats come out against "diversity."

Posted by: James Longstreet | Feb 23, 2017 4:46:53 AM

Universities have shown, time any again, that they can not be trusted. If they had not turned themselves into exclusive leftist enclaves, none of this would be necessary.

Posted by: Gridlock | Feb 23, 2017 4:33:01 AM

The federal government and most states have explicit laws prohibiting the civil service from discriminating based on political affiliation.

The Republicans in Iowa and North Carolina are explicitly requiring the civil service to discriminate based on political affiliation in a way that is unheard of outside totalitarian regimes.

The phrase "party apparatchik" comes to mind.

Posted by: Republicans | Feb 23, 2017 4:31:32 AM

It's about time. Might return to actually educating.

Posted by: Pragmatic | Feb 23, 2017 4:25:53 AM

Bad idea. Won't work. Just the way Lizzy Warren declared herself an American Indian to get an Ivy League job, any other lefty can change their registration to Republican to get the same result at campuses all over the nation.

Posted by: yerkiddenright | Feb 23, 2017 4:18:58 AM


Posted by: Anon | Feb 22, 2017 11:09:59 PM

AA for conservatives!

Posted by: mike livingston | Feb 22, 2017 10:02:03 PM

"We can't have diversity of thought here, this is a university!"

Posted by: Evergreen Dissident | Feb 22, 2017 9:16:16 PM

Lets make sure that law enforcement departments (which are likely as right of center as colleges are purportedly left) also have equal political representation so we know that this isn't just about conservatives' perceived grievances.

Posted by: Unemployed Northeastern | Feb 22, 2017 8:34:12 PM

What next? A bill requiring faculties to have the same gender and racial balances as the populations of their states? Oops.

Posted by: Theodore Seto | Feb 22, 2017 1:58:19 PM