A dispute sparked by a social work student at Missouri State University in Springfield has sparked legislation at the Capitol, which supporters say is needed to ensure intellectual diversity.
Missouri State settled a lawsuit filed by student Emily Brooker who accused the social work program of violating her First Amendment rights when she refused to sign a letter supporting homosexual adoption. Brooker says a college professor interrogated her about her beliefs after the incident.
Rep. Jane Cunningham (R-Chesterfield) says Brooker’s case illustrates a wide-spread prejudice within Missouri academics. But Representative Judy Baker of Columbia questions whether it’s just an isolated case. Cunningham, though, insists a narrow ideology pervades state colleges, suppressing the academic freedom students should enjoy in the classroom. Her bill, HB 213 , will require colleges to report the steps they are taking to ensure intellectual diversity and the free exchange of ideas.
The House has approved the bill on a 97-to-50 vote. It now goes to the Senate.