A bill to address political diversity of the faculty on college campuses failed to advance at the statehouse last week. Representative Jeff Kauffman, a Republican from Wilton, calls the faculty demographics at the University of Iowa “ridiculous.”
He notes the U-I History Department has no registered Republicans and the law school has just one or two compared to 30-plus Democrats. “I would prefer that the Board of Regents take on this issue themselves,” Kauffman said.
“I have asked them every year to take a look at this and every year they ignore it.” Kauffman, a farmer and community college teacher, says there will always be more Democrats than Republicans in a college town.
“I think we want to send a message that we have a slanted view in our institutions of higher education,” Kauffman said. “We have three new Regents. I’m hoping they can at least have the conversation.”
Critics call the bill a solution in search of a problem. A lobbyist for the Board of Regents told lawmakers that university hiring policies prevent questioning a candidate about political affiliation. The bill, dubbed the “Intellectual Diversity in Higher Education Act,” is modeled after a similar law in Colorado.