In proposed higher education law, Ohio Republicans have gone ‘woke’
As a member of the faculty senate of Bowling Green State University I want to express my appreciation to the sponsors of Ohio Senate Bill 83.
This bill will fulfill the lifelong dreams of our now aging boomer radicals by kicking ROTC off our campus and bashing down the barriers to trans participation in all our collegiate sports.
I never imagined Ohio’s GOP would embrace what they have been criticizing as “woke” activism, but the law is clear. SB 83 will transform BGSU and all other state colleges and universities into the most progressive campuses in the nation.
I realize this is not how SB 83 is being touted by its sponsors and I am deeply sorry if I am inadvertently outing any of its drafters who are closeted revolutionaries.
Perhaps it is not my place to highlight these camouflaged aspects of the bill, but as an educator it is my duty to expose all ideas to the clarifying light of public debate.
Buried deep in its 39 pages of legalistic clauses is Sec. 3345.0217 (4) that requires every college and university to “allow and encourage students to reach their own conclusions about all controversial matters” while prohibiting them to “inculcate any social, political, or religious point of view.”
Every true educator in Ohio of whatever political persuasion should stand up and defend this principle, and in my experience, most all do.
What good teachers do is get students to think not believe.
To implement this general principle, this article prohibits colleges and universities from requiring students to “endorse, assent to, or publicly express a given ideology, political stance, or view of a social policy” as a condition of admission or graduation from any of its academic programs.
Very few, if any academic programs have such a litmus test and most of those that I’m aware of on my campus tend to the rightward side of the political spectrum.
Perhaps the most glaring violation of this provision is the fact that no student can join the reserve officer training program or be admitted into the minor in Military Science, unless they take the ROTC cadet oath.
They must raise their hand and swear: “I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same… So help me God.”
Obviously, anyone who philosophically is opposed to the principles of liberal democracy, such as the folks President Trump called “very fine people” who marched in support of confederate statues in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017, or card-carrying communists, are unjustly excluded from these fine academic opportunities.
Even though I support the rigorous training in critical thinking and leadership that our ROTC programs provide, as a member of the faculty senate, if SB 83 becomes law, I will be bound to support a measure kicking ROTC off campus.
Drilling further down into SB 83, Sec. 3345.87 (C) bars any state institution of higher education from funding, facilitating, or providing “any support” to any “program” or “activity” that “advantages or disadvantages” students “by any group identity.”
Another section (B) prohibits any college or university from disadvantaging or segregating any students by “membership in groups defined by…sex or sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.”
The only exception to this rule is for U.S. citizens who may be given preferences and advantages over non-citizens.
Together, these provisions will require that we close down most of our intramural and intercollegiate club sports teams.
From men’s baseball to women’s bowling, men’s hockey to women’s rugby, none of them can be allowed access to our verdant playing fields, cavernous arenas, or slick ice rinks.
This provision will also require the full integration of all varsity sports and cease being “men’s” or “women’s” at all.
Few men may make the cut for the Falcon women’s basketball team, but even if one does, this will violate NCAA rules and disqualify our champions from competition.
Hopefully, someday, the rest of America will catch up to our progressive standards.
Of course, being relegated to separate locker rooms will deny women all the usual team-building and esprit-de-corps of being part of a group, so such “segregated” facilities will have to go.
Likewise, there will be no reason to inquire or make any fuss over non-binary or trans athletes in a sporting environment where gender “identity groups” are outlawed.
Bravo comrades! I never thought I’d see the day that such dreams were realized and I welcome Ohio’s Senate Republicans joining me on the woke barricades of academia.
We are on the cusp of a true social transformation of our college campuses. I just hope the eight sponsors of SB 83 will be brave enough to fight for these provisions by rallying their constituents back home to support them.
Timothy Messer-Kruse is a professor of ethnic studies at Bowling Green State University and the views expressed are entirely his own.
This commentary was republished from the Ohio Capital Journal under a Creative Commons license.