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Political freedom of professors at risk in Iowa

Serving as a senator in the Iowa Senate, republican Mark Chelgren introduced a bill which would look into college hiring practices. The bill would enforce a policy in all Iowa state universities that would take the political party of potential candidates into consideration when hiring new faculty.

If passed this legislation is passed in the Iowa Senate, then there is a dangerous chance for it to be proposed in other states. The very idea of forcing colleges to consider political persuasion constitutes unfair and discriminatory hiring practices.

If students are aware that each professor was partially hired in order to maintain a political balance, they will feel inclined to censor themselves in fear of offending a teacher or hurting their grade.

Riya Parikh, a sophomore undecided major, stated, “Students would censor their own speeches, articles, writing and colleges would not be a place to truly explore and experience but rather a place where just like everywhere else, everyone is indirectly forced to be politically correct.”

When students feel the need to censor themselves, especially in the social sciences where there are always a lot of discussions and debates in class, then fear of political judgment will hinder the students’ intellectual experiences.

Although professors today still have their own personal beliefs, they do not necessarily speak of them in class. But if this law passes, then there is the implication that political biases towards students are acceptable.

This is also a gross violation of privacy for the professors themselves. The Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 prohibits employers from asking about political party preferences of federal employees. However, this only applies to federal employees, and, unfortunately, allows each state to make its own requirements for non-federal employment opportunities.

The intention of the law is to even out the disproportionately large amount of liberal persuasion within college campuses since many instructors are liberal. Nonetheless, there currently are not any hiring committees in schools which take one’s political party into account during a candidate’s evaluation. The seemingly disproportionate amount of liberal to conservative professors is simply something that just naturally happened as colleges tend to lean more towards open explorative thoughts.

However, there is a problem if teachers, liberal or conservative, introduce their own ideas to students. This is something that should not occur regardless of the professor’s political or personal beliefs. Nonetheless, forcing colleges to have an equal percentage of left- and right-minded staff when hiring a new instructor, is not the solution to their perceived notion that liberal professors are a problem in today’s college environment.

The proposed bill would do more harm than good, especially concerning professors looking to work at a state school. Such a course of action could lead to the possibility of discrimination in regards to both the professor’s and student’s political views, and that is simply unacceptable at any educational institution.