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University Senate urges lawmakers to reconsider Senate Bill 83

The Miami University Senate met in Harrison Hall April 4 to discuss tenure, different policy revisions, ASG year-in-review and Ohio Senate Bill 83 (S.B. 83). Associate professor of journalism and university senator Rosemary Pennington, along with Provost Liz Mullenix talked about the bill to the group. 

On Friday, the Ohio House of Representatives introduced a companion bill to S.B. 83 which says the House agrees with the Senate, and the process will now move more quickly to pass the bill.

Mullenix said during the senate meeting that the presidents, vice presidents and provosts across multiple universities have been working together through the Inter-University Council to figure out how the bill is going to pass, which most are sure will.

Since there is a strong sense that the bill will pass, the question is how it can pass in the least offensive and destructive way possible.

Cleveland State and Central State universities have also passed resolutions regarding the bill, and The Ohio State University is also drafting a resolution, though it has not been passed yet.

Former Student Body Vice President Khenadi Grubb said during the meeting that the student body president’s coalition is currently working with different student body presidents across Ohio to work on language to submit a resolution of its own opposing the bill.

Read the University Senate resolution:

Whereas we as representatives of the Miami Community have an unwavering commitment to liberal arts undergraduate education, which means students are exposed to a diversity of experiences and viewpoints that strengthen our democracy and republic; 

Whereas, the government of Miami University – vested in eleven trustees appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the senate – is entrusted with maintaining Miami’s “invaluable heritage of high scholastic standards” and maintaining “maximum freedom of scholastic inquiry and action” for the benefit of the citizens of Ohio and the United States; 

Whereas we understand that part of our mission is to empower faculty, students and staff to become engaged citizens who use their knowledge and skills with integrity and compassion to improve the future of our global society; 

Whereas we understand that in order to empower our faculty, students and staff in this manner we must remain committed to diversity, equity and inclusion efforts at all levels of the university; 

Whereas we recognize that an inclusive approach to diversity and equity must encompass the lived experiences of all faculty, students, and staff members of Miami University;

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Whereas we believe a robust higher education landscape that protects academic freedom is critical to the health of the state’s economy; 

Whereas we believe a robust higher education landscape that protects academic freedom and the life of the mind is critical to the constitutional aspiration of forming a “more perfect Union;”

Whereas we recognize that the partners seeking to work with Ohio’s universities, helping to build Ohio’s future economy, and hoping to employ Ohio’s future workforce – such as Intel – identify diversity and inclusion as instrumental to creativity, innovation, and business success;

Whereas we believe Ohio Senate Bill 83 to be destructive to the very core of our mission and the foundation of higher education in Ohio; 

Whereas we believe Ohio Senate Bill 83 to also be destructive to our ability to recruit diverse and qualified university employees and diverse and qualified students;  

We, the members of the Miami University Senate, reaffirm our commitment to critical thinking and independent thought; to the appreciation of diverse views; to a sense of responsibility to our global future. All of which we believe to be at risk should Senate Bill 83 be passed. We urge all legislators to reject this bill that would lay waste to higher education in Ohio, putting in jeopardy the health of the state’s economy and its ability to recruit a diverse and qualified workforce.