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Funeral for free speech held at Ohio Statehouse by opponents of a bill to change rules on colleges

Opponents of bill to change higher ed protest at Ohio Statehouse
Jo Ingles
Statehouse News Bureau
Opponents of bill to change higher ed protest at Ohio Statehouse

Dozens of students from all over Ohio carried handmade signs with messages like "I should have gone out of state," or "Ignorance is not bliss."

The chant "We will stop you" echoed off the plaster walls and marble floors as students wearing academic robes and carrying signs and electric candles walked through the long hallways throughout the Statehouse. It was all part of a protest the students called a "funeral" for higher education.

The students oppose Senate Bill 83, which would ban most diversity and education training and affirmative action practices along with faculty strikes, and would define specific issues that must be presented with what it calls "intellectual diversity." Those include electoral politics, marriage and abortion.

Republican supporters say the bill is needed to protect students from bias and indoctrination they say is perpetuated by professors or universities. But some protesting students say they will leave Ohio colleges if this bill passes.

Tori Haller, a senior history major at Ohio State University, said she would have to leave Ohio to be able to accurately teach students.

"If I can't do my job in Ohio, I can't properly take care of my students. I can't teach the history I need to teach because it is presumed to be strict intellectual diversity if I have to give inaccurate information like Holocaust deniers an equal platform in the classroom," Haller said.

Most of Senate Bill 83 has been folded into the Senate budget and a similar bill is being heard in the Ohio House.

Contact Jo Ingles at
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