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Craig Condemns Passage of Senate Bill 83

May 17, 2023
Hearcel F. Craig News

Today, state Senator Hearcel F. Craig (D-Columbus) issued the following statement after the Ohio Senate voted to pass Senate Bill 83, the highly controversial “Ohio Higher Education Enhancement Act.”

“Senate Bill 83 raises deeply troubling issues regarding the fundamental principles of academic freedom and the ability of higher education institutions to take positions on the vital questions we face as a society. I am particularly alarmed by the ban on mandated diversity, equity, and inclusion programs,” said Craig. “The citizens of Ohio have clearly shown that they do not want this bill, and I am truly concerned for the future of not only Ohio's students and faculty but also for the very future of Ohio itself.” 

Among a litany of changes to Ohio’s higher education laws, S.B. 83 would prohibit all higher education employees from striking and ban institutions from having mandated diversity, equity and inclusion programs. It also would bar colleges and universities from endorsing or opposing as an institution any controversial beliefs, policies, specified concepts or specified ideologies.

More than 300 Ohioans and organizations, including the American Association of University Professors Ohio Conference and Ohio Education Association, submitted testimony in opposition to S.B. 83 while it was receiving hearings in the Senate Workforce and Higher Education Committee.

Critics have argued the legislation is an unnecessary infringement upon the principles of free speech and academic freedom that will discourage prospective students from attending colleges and universities in Ohio and professors from seeking employment at these institutions.

S.B. 83 now goes to the House for consideration, where its companion legislation, House Bill 151, received its second hearing today.