PIERRE, S.D. (AP) – A bill seeking to promote “intellectual diversity” on South Dakota campuses is advancing despite pushback from the Board of Regents, university presidents and student representatives.
The House Education Committee voted 9-6 Wednesday to send the measure to the chamber’s floor. Rep. Sue Peterson, the sponsor, says the bill would “preserve our First Amendment rights on college campuses.”
But regents CEO and Executive Director Paul Beran says it would create unfunded mandates for universities. He says the measure obscures the regents’ current “clear” free speech policy.
The bill would designate outdoor university areas public forums, prohibit officials from discriminating against student organizations based on their expression and require reporting to the governor, regents and legislators.
It would also mandate requirements for students including U.S. history and government courses and taking the U.S. citizenship test.
The committee on Wednesday also approved a bill to prohibit public school instruction about gender dysphoria through seventh grade.