H. B. 2884
(By Delegates Overington, Lane, Duke, Andes,
Barker, Canterbury, Cowles, Miley, J. Miller
[Introduced January 9, 2008; referred to the
Committee on Education then the Judiciary.]
A BILL to amend the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by
adding thereto a new section, designated §18B-7-13, relating
to protecting academic freedom in higher education.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended
by adding thereto a new section, designated §18B-7-13, to read as
ARTICLE 7. PERSONNEL GENERALLY.
§18B-7-13. Intellectual independence and diversity protected.
The state recognizes the importance of protecting academic
freedom of personnel and students in its institutions of higher
education. To secure intellectual independence for faculty and
students, and to protect intellectual diversity, state institutions
of higher education shall observe the following principles and
(1) All faculty must be hired, fired, promoted and granted tenure on the basis of their competence and appropriate knowledge
in the field of their expertise and, in the humanities, the social
sciences, and the arts, with a view toward fostering a plurality of
methodologies and perspectives. No faculty may be hired or fired
or denied promotion or tenure solely on the basis of his or her
political or religious beliefs.
(2) All tenure, search and hiring committee deliberations must
be recorded and made available to appropriately constituted
authorities empowered to inquire into the integrity of the process.
The names of committee members may be redacted from the record. No
faculty member may be excluded from tenure, search and hiring
committees on the basis of his or her political or religious
(3) Students must be graded solely on the basis of their
reasoned answers and appropriate knowledge of the subjects and
disciplines they study. Students may not be graded on the basis of
their political or religious beliefs.
(4) Curricula and reading lists in the humanities and social
sciences must respect the uncertainty and unsettled character of
all human knowledge in these areas and provide students with
dissenting sources and viewpoints. While teachers are and should
be free to pursue their own findings and perspectives in presenting
their views, they must consider and make their students aware of
other viewpoints. Academic disciplines must welcome a diversity of approaches to unsettled questions.
(5) Exposing students to the spectrum of significant scholarly
viewpoints on the subjects examined in their courses is a major
responsibility of faculty. Faculty may not use their courses for
the purpose of political, ideological, religious or anti-religious
(6) The principles of academic freedom and the promotion of
intellectual pluralism must be observed in the selection of
speakers, allocation of funds for speakers programs and other
(7) The obstruction of invited campus speakers, destruction of
campus literature or other effort to obstruct the civil exchange of
ideas may not be tolerated.
(8) Because knowledge advances when scholars are free to reach
their own conclusions about which methods, facts and theories have
been validated by research, academic institutions shall maintain a
posture of organizational neutrality with respect to the
substantive disagreements that divide researchers on questions
within, or outside, their fields of inquiry.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to promote intellectual
diversity and academic freedom in institutions of higher education.
It protects faculty and students from discrimination resulting from
political or religious beliefs.
This section is new; therefore, strike-throughs and
underscoring have been omitted.