Saturday, February 17, 2007

Thayer Verschoor's latest attempt at censoring academia

Arizona Senate Majority Leader Thayer Verschoor (R-Gilbert) is at it again, with a bill that prohibits any public school or college instructor from advocating or opposing a political candidate or issue. This is the same legislator who last year proposed a bill that would have required colleges and universities to "provide a student with alternative coursework if the student deems regular coursework to be personally offensive" where "a course, coursework, learning material or activity is personally offensive if it conflicts with the student’s beliefs or practices in sex, morality or religion."

While it is appropriate to define limits on partisan advocacy in public primary and secondary schools (where state educational standards define the curriculum and individual school districts set policy on appropriate classroom behavior), it doesn't make sense to do it at the college level, where professors have much broader freedom to create their own course curricula.

Verschoor was also one of several legislators accepting gifts from the Church of Scientology and sponsoring legislation for Scientology's Citizens Commission on Human Rights last year.

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