EXCLUSIVE: A handful of House Republicans are pushing a new bill that would prohibit the use of “political tests” in the admission, hiring and promotion of college students and faculty, and warns that “Far Left woke ideology” is taking over university campuses.
The legislation led by GOP Conference Chair Elise Stefanik of New York, Rep. Fred Keller, R-Pa., and Rep. Glenn Grothman, R-Wis., is necessary to foster the healthy competition of ideas and shut down “intolerant political monoculture,” they told Fox News Digital.
The bill, the ‘‘Restoring Academic Freedom on Campus Act of 2022’’ states that any institution that receives federal funding through the Higher Education Act of 1965 “may not consider, require, or discriminate on the basis of a political test in the admission, appointment, or promotion of, or granting of tenure to, any covered individual.”
“I will always stand up for freedom of speech and freedom of thought on college campuses,” Stefanik told Fox News Digital. “Instead of encouraging diversity of ideas, some institutions of higher education are shamefully acting as gatekeepers to ensure their faculty, staff, and students all ascribe to Far Left woke ideology.”
The congresswoman noted that “this intolerant political monoculture” has reached into institutions across the country, including in New York’s SUNY system.
Keller warned that the U.S. is seeing “an alarming number of universities” throw away a commitment to free speech in order to “advance curated partisan ideologies.”
An August study from free speech organization Speech First found that universities across the United States placed a greater emphasis on diversity, equity and inclusion than free speech in freshman orientation materials.
That study found that fewer than 30 percent of schools discussed free speech in freshman orientation materials, while approximately 90 percent discussed diversity, equity and inclusion.
The issue of free speech on college campuses is not new, and the Supreme Court has heard a number of cases on the issue in recent years.
Fox News’ Kelsey Koberg contributed to this report.