While SB 202 is wrapped up in language about free inquiry and expression, the ACLU of Indiana is very concerned about provisions limiting or chilling speech on campus. In particular, sections on classroom curriculum and discourse and student mentoring are so vague as to create confusion on the part of subject matter faculty experts about what can and cannot be discussed. Given that a faculty member could face a range of serious disciplinary actions, including demotion and termination, this vagueness is particularly troubling.

The bill also creates criteria for evaluation of tenure decisions that incorporates the same vagueness. Requiring a largely appointed Board of Trustees to have the expertise to evaluate the bill’s criteria across dozens of disciplines is wholly unrealistic. The likely result is arbitrary promotion and disciplinary decisions, often informed by the political beliefs of a majority of the board.

The ACLU of Indiana strongly supports public universities that uphold the principles of free inquiry and expression. Unfortunately, SB 202 undercuts that goal by limiting free speech on campus.    


*Note: SB 202 was amended in a number of positive ways in the House Education Committee, but we remain opposed to the bill and concerned about its implications for free speech.

Authors

Sen. Spencer Deery, Sen. Jeff Raatz, Sen. Tyler Johnson

Status

Passed Senate

Session

2024

Bill number

Position

Oppose