Ohio Bill Targeting DEI Training in Higher Education Fails to Gain Traction

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Amid waning support in the state legislature, Ohio Republicans have withdrawn a bill to eliminate mandatory diversity training at public universities and limit these institutions from addressing contentious topics.

House Speaker Jason Stephen (R) stated last week that the bill lacks the necessary support to pass the House, where it has been pending for months after being approved in the Senate.

“It’s been in committee for, what? Six months, five months, or whatever,” Stephens said. “It’s been a conversation from a lot of people. I think there are a lot of concerns with that bill from both sides of the aisle, frankly.”

Senate Bill 83, also known as the Higher Education Enhancement Act, proposed sweeping changes to the state’s higher education system, including bans on most diversity training and requirements to discuss alternative viewpoints on topics such as climate policies, immigration, and abortion. It also sought to prevent universities from endorsing “a given ideology, political stance, or view of a social policy.”

The bill, introduced earlier this year by Sen. Jerry Cirino (R), underwent multiple revisions prior to being withdrawn, including the removal of a proposed ban on faculty strikes. Despite these changes, the bill failed to garner votes in the House.

“There is a narrative right now that students are being indoctrinated at universities and I think that’s absolutely not the case,” Kent State University Student Body President Julie Buonaiuto stated in her testimony against the measure during a recent House committee meeting. “It’s a nonexistent problem.”