CDF-Ohio Testifies Against Senate Bill 83, the “Ohio Higher Education Enhancement Act”
April 19, 2023
On Wednesday, the Senate Workforce and Higher Education Committee held a hearing for public testimony on Senate Bill 83, the “Ohio Higher Education Enhancement Act.” More than 500 Ohioans submitted testimony on the bill—a new record in the Ohio Senate—and more than 100 Ohioans showed up in person to testify to the committee. With only five individuals as proponents for the bill, Ohioans made a clear statement as to the widespread opposition to this sweeping piece of legislation which poses significant harm to higher education in Ohio.
The bill proposes the prohibition of mandatory diversity, equity, and inclusion training at all public universities and colleges, would ban university faculty and staff from going on strike and infringe on their rights for collective bargaining, and would dramatically change college campuses across Ohio by mandating that institutions of higher education shall not treat, advantage, disadvantage, or segregate any faculty, staff, or students by membership in groups defined by characteristics such as race, ethnicity, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression or provide advantage or disadvantage on the basis of membership in groups defined by characteristics such as race, ethnicity, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression in admissions, hiring, promotion, tenuring, workplace conditions, or any other program, policy, or activity.
This is just the short list of sweeping harms to students and the state of Ohio that this bill could cause.
In testimony on Wednesday that went well into the evening, Director Kim Eckhart said: “The negative consequences of this sweeping prohibition cannot be overstated. The intended consequences appear to be dismantling strategies to close racial disparities in college attainment, and it will simultaneously dismantle groups such as sororities and fraternities, which are based on gender, race, religious groups, and associations based on nationality.”