Democrats in the Iowa Senate argue that a proposed campus free speech bill would create “legalized” discrimination and serve to limit, rather than encourage, free speech.
Republican State Senator Amy Sinclair recently introduced a bill that would require Iowa’s public colleges and universities to formally recognize and respect the right of student organizations to impose religious requirements for leadership positions, as well as banning so-called “free speech zones.”
Senate File 2344 was introduced in the wake of an incident at the University of Iowa, where a university recognized student group called Business Leaders in Christ (BLinC) was stripped of its recognized status after a student had accused BLinC of denying him a leadership position because he is “openly gay.”
According to The Des Moines Register, Democratic State Senator Matt McCoy argued last week that the bill would open the door to discrimination by allowing student groups to restrict membership based on a “protected status” as defined by the state’s civil rights laws.
“We have in essence legalized discrimination, which I believe is a very dangerous and unfortunate thing to be doing,” he remarked, with State Senator Herman Quirmbach agreeing that while student organizations have the right to be formed around a set of beliefs, they do not have the right to “discriminate on the basis of status.”
“Should an organization, the student organization, have the right to form itself around a set of beliefs? I would say yes,” he commented. “But I believe that they do not have the right to discriminate on the basis of status.”
Quirmbach, also a professor of economics at Iowa State University, recently came under fire for joking about cutting down on administrative bloat through severe measures.
“Senator Zaun, you focused our attention on the growth of administrators. As a faculty member at Iowa State, I share that spirit,” he said in February, according to The Iowa State Daily.
Read the rest at: Discrimination