Professor calls SB 83 “unnecessary” and “destructive”


Falcon Media Staff

Students in a class at Overman Hall.

Makenna Flores, Managing Editor

As Ohio Senate Bill 83 continues to be a topic of discussion for higher education institutions, concerns on what this may mean for Bowling Green State University continue to rise. 

Senate Bill 83 was introduced on March 16 and targets universities’ academic freedoms and instruction on controversial topics. The bill also plans to ban DEI training and programs, affinity groups, affirmative action policies and partnerships with China. 

David Jackson, the Faculty Association President at BGSU and political science professor said the bill is a “radical restructuring of higher education in the state of Ohio.”

“What this does is unnecessarily upset a set of relationships that very responsible people have spent a long time developing,” he said. 

Although the bill covers multiple different ,some concerns are within what this may mean for tenured faculty. 

“In particular, it’s based on a misunderstanding that tenured faculty is never evaluated ever again once they are tenure, and that is not true. Faculty of Bowling Green State University are evaluated every year,” said Jackson. 

Jackson said tenure as a concept is designed to protect academic freedom for faculty to be able to speak, write, research and teach controversial subjects with the protection from retaliation and punishment. The bill threatens this ability. 

While tenured faculty are at risk, the language within the bill also concerns the university’s mission statement, specifically with its promise for diversity. 

“It would undermine all institutions in terms of the work they have done to become places where students from all backgrounds feel welcomed and are able to thrive. It’s not just unnecessary but destructive,” said Jackson. 

As a professor, Jackson has concerns over what this may mean for his classroom, as controversial topics will not be allowed to be taught should the bill pass. 

“It’s designed to cause professors to have second thoughts and to second-guess discussing controversial topics and aspects of American history and government in their classes,” he said. “As such, it’s a complete affront to the entire concept of academic freedom and freedom of thought and inquiry based on a mistake and set of assumptions about what actually happens in classrooms.”  

Jacob Clemens, Senior Director of the Marvin Center for Student Leadership and Civic Engagement, declined to comment about the bill. 

People who disagree with this bill can contact Sen. Cirino at 614-644-7718 or email at [email protected].