Senate Bill 83: How will it affect Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion?

Senate Bill 83: How will it affect Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion?

Ohio Senate Bill 83, also known as the Ohio Higher Education Advancement Act, is a piece of legislation meant to reform and regulate public universities across Ohio. Introduced by Ohio Senator Jerry C. Cirino (R-District 18), the bill has gained controversy for its language attacking Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion training. The bill restricts universities from requiring DEI training for students and faculty.

Despite the bill taking a stance against diversity, equity, and inclusion, it does not outright ban it from public universities. Kent State does not require DEI training for any of its faculty or staff as opposed to several other public universities in the state such as Ohio University or Ohio State. Cirino made it clear that he chose the moderate approach of banning the training requirement despite many saying he should ban it all together according to him.

“We allowed them to be able to sign up to those things,” he said. “But they have to report to us when they do that and what it involves.”

Cirino cites research grants attached to DEI-related studies at public universities as a reason not to make it illegal and that doing so would put those universities at a huge disadvantage. The bill would also reduce the tenure of Trustees on the board. But the most controversial aspect of the bill is it’s language banning universities from taking stances on “controversial issues.” This part of the legislation has been criticized as being exceptionally vague. As of now, Senate Bill 83 is under review by the Ohio house of Representatives Rules and Reference committee.

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