American Association of University Professors
Take Action on Wednesday, September 22!: House Bill 322 and Substitute House Bill 327 (details below) are receiving another round of hearings on Wednesday, September 22 in the Ohio House State and Local Government Committee. It is important that committee members hear opposition to these bills.
E-mail: We have created an Action Network page through which you can e-mail your State Representative and the Representatives on the State and Local Government Committee to express opposition to the legislation. We recommend that you use your personal email address.
Call: Phone calls to the offices of the Republican majority members of the committee are particularly effective, as they are the ones who will determine whether this bill moves forward. Their names and numbers are below, along with a sample script.
Chair Scott Wiggam: 614-466-1474
Vice Chair Marilyn John: 614-466-5802
Rep. Jamie Callender: 614-644-6074
Rep. Rodney Creech: 614-466-2960
Rep. Bill Dean: 614-466-1470
Rep. Sarah Fowler Arthur (HB 327 Sponsor): 614-466-1405
Rep. Timothy Ginter: 614-466-8022
Rep. Diane Grendell (HB 327 Sponsor): 614-644-5088
Rep. Brian Stewart: 614-466-1464
Rep. Shane Wilkin: 614-466-3506
Sample Phone Script: Hello, I am calling to express my opposition to House Bills 322 and 327. As a professor at [your institution], I am concerned about how the legislation would infringe upon academic freedom. I don’t believe that state government should be dictating the content and manner of teaching on college and university campuses. I hope that the Representative will reject these bills and protect the integrity of higher education in Ohio.
Submitting Testimony: OCAAUP will be testifying as an opponent at an upcoming hearing. Our testimony will focus on how the legislation threatens academic freedom, employment and tenure decisions for faculty, accreditation, as well as State Share of Instruction funding. We also want to note that we spent much of the summer having conversations with the members of the State and Local Government Committee about our concerns.
Nevertheless, individual members may wish to testify in person or submit written testimony to convey how the bills will negatively impact them and their institutions. If you are interested in offering testimony, please email OCAAUP Executive Director Sara Kilpatrick at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
About the Bills
As we reported to you in June, Ohio House Bills 322 and 327 would restrict the teaching of certain concepts and topics.
HB 322 primarily targets public schools and state agencies. While the Ohio Department of Higher Education would be included under the definition of state agency, it is unclear whether the bill would be applicable to state institutions of higher education.
This bill prohibits public entities from requiring discussion of current events and prohibits the teaching of a list of topics dealing with race, sex, slavery, and bias. It also targets history and civics courses, discouraging the discussion of current events, controversial issues, or activities that involve social or policy advocacy.
Moreover, the legislation specifies that teachers cannot be required to teach anything that goes against their “sincerely held religious or philosophical convictions.”
Substitute HB 327 is more punitive than HB 322 and also specifically targets institutions of higher education. The bill prohibits public schools, state agencies, colleges, and universities from offering teaching, instruction, or training on “divisive concepts” or accepting private funding to promote such concepts.
Violations of the bill would result in the withholding of funding to school districts or withholding of State Share of Instruction to colleges and universities. For one offense, 25% of SSI would be withheld. For a second offense, 50%, and for a third offense, 100% of SSI would be withheld.
The bill has a list of concepts related to race, sex, nationality, color, and ethnicity that it defines as divisive and therefore prohibits them from being “promoted.” It does say that divisive or controversial concepts can be taught if done so objectively and impartially, but who gets to determine what is objective and impartial is unclear.
Sub. HB 327 would require institutions to update policies on faculty tenure to reflect the bill’s principles and consider as a negative factor in employment and tenure decisions any confirmed reports that a faculty member knowingly or recklessly violates the bill’s provisions.
The legislation also would prohibit institutions of higher education from including “divisive concepts” in new student or freshmen orientation teaching, instruction, or training.
Here are several quick links so that you can read directly about the bills:
House Bill 322 Full Text
House Bill 322 Bill Analysis
Substitute House Bill 327 Full Text
House Bill 327 Substitute Bill Comparative Synopsis