Questioning Intellectual Diversity
Politics are at the heart of this debate. Some Republican lawmakers think state universities are just too liberal. Now, they're working hard to get the Emily Brooker Intellectual Diversity Act past all the government red tape. But the bill raises questions that go much further than politics.
Inside the chancellor's Diversity Initiative office, intellectual diversity is a very personal question.
"Everyone is at a different stage. You can't clump everybody the same. It's about working with you to go where you want to go," Noor Azizan-Gardner explained.
Azizan-Gardner says even when it seems every student wants to go somewhere different with their opinion, its not her place to say otherwise.
"And it's not about liberal points of view. Here we're trying to understand how to make the world better," she said.
The Intellectual Diversity Bill requires universities to report their diversity initiatives and allow for grievances from students who feel their rights have been violated.
Sub-par performance would mean budget cuts. Thousands of seats fill up each day at MU and each one of them represents a unique point of view. Opponents of the bill say trying to legislate thought is like trying to assign seats. It's a good idea, but the rebels are always going to do exactly what they want. Administrators and students alike says it's tough to see through to the bill's real intentions.
"People have agendas and the agendas are going to surface through debates. So it's just going to be hard to control. But I don't think it's a bad idea," Brian Foster from MU Provost said.
"I think it would be a really sad day for America if our brightest, the ones who are actually attending college, are being so easily swayed by just a simple professor," Chris Pullen said.
The Senate still has to debate and approve the bill.