Ohio legislation attacks climate change in higher education

Ohio State University's University Hall.

Ohio State University's University Hall. By Robert ChrissCC BY-SA 3.0.

Ohio's Senate Bill 83 (PDF) would, if enacted, require the state's public institutions of higher education to remain in effect neutral about "controversial" beliefs and policies — which explicitly include climate change.

Specifically, the bill would require each such institution to "[a]ffirm and guarantee that faculty and staff shall allow and encourage students to reach their own conclusions about all controversial matters"; to "[a]ffirm and guarantee that it will not endorse, oppose, comment, or take action, as an institution, on the public policy controversies of the day, or any other ideology, principle, concept, or formulation that requires commitment to any controversial belief or policy"; and to "[p]rohibit political and ideological litmus tests in all hiring, promotion, and admissions decisions, including ... commitment to any controversial belief or policy."

Senate Bill 83 was introduced by Jerry C. Cirino (R-District 18) and seven of his colleagues on March 14, 2023. The bill is already attracting criticism for provisions unrelated to climate change, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer (March 15, 2023).

Glenn Branch
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Glenn Branch is Deputy Director of NCSE.