Senate Calls for “Textbook Selection” Policies
On Tuesday, June 20, the Ohio Senate adopted an omnibus amendment to HB 49, the state budget bill.
Included in the amendment was new language that would “require the board of trustees of each state institution of higher education to adopt a textbook selection policy for faculty to use when choosing and assigning textbooks and other instructional materials.”
Undoubtedly, this raises academic freedom concerns. However, this language puts these decisions squarely within the jurisdiction of our institutions, rather than the state imposing a one-size-fits-all mandate about faculty and textbooks, like the annual textbook disclosure filing provision that was in the House version of the bill.
This is being viewed as a compromise position, in an attempt to preempt the House from pursuing the disclosure filing piece in conference committee. As such, while we plan to raise concerns about academic freedom, we do not intend to oppose this amendment. Should this language be adopted as part of the final bill, it will be up to faculty on each campus to ensure that the policy that gets adopted does not undermine academic freedom.
The Senate formally passed its version of HB 49 yesterday, June 21, along a party-line vote, and the Conference Committee is slated to begin meeting today, June 22.
Members of the Conference Committee include:
Senate: Scott Oelslager (R-Canton), Gayle Manning (R-North Ridgeville), Michael Skindell (D-Lakewood)
House: Ryan Smith (R-Bidwell), Scott Ryan (R-Newark), Jack Cera (D-Bellaire)
At this time, there is no strong indication that House conferees intend to push for the various provisions impacting faculty that the Senate removed, but anything can happen in conference committee. We will continue to keep you updated as the budget is finalized over the next week and sent to Gov. Kasich, who must sign the bill by June 30.
OCAAUP Scholarships Available to Summer Institute in Cincinnati
This year’s AAUP/AAUP-CBC Summer Institute is taking place at the University of Cincinnati from July 27 to July 30.
The Summer Institute features a four-day series of workshops and special programs to train faculty from around the country on various issues. It is one of the best and most valuable events that the AAUP hosts.
The Ohio Conference offers scholarships to members from chapters that have fewer resources. If you are interested in a scholarship, please e-mail Executive Director Sara Kilpatrick at firstname.lastname@example.org to get more information.
The registration deadline is July 3. More information about the event, including the full program, can be found here.