On Monday, February 21, 2024, the American Historical Association (AHA) sent a letter to members of the Indiana House Education Committee expressing strong opposition to Indiana Senate Bill 202, which would “create a policy for granting tenure and terminating the appointments of tenured faculty based on how well that faculty member has fostered ‘intellectual diversity’ within the classroom.” AHA is one of the founding member societies of ACLS.

As written, the bill inserts the will and judgment of politically appointed boards of trustees into the fundamental work of university faculty. This proposed legislation represents another dangerous attempt to stem the growth and strength of higher education in the United States by putting limits on academic freedom and eliminating tenure protection, putting thousands of jobs on the line. 

History—and by extension history instruction—thrives on reasoned debate and a constant search for new questions and new angles of vision. Procedures for tenure and promotion in our discipline reward the ability to find fresh insights in the events of yesteryear … true intellectual diversity cannot be reduced, as this bill proposes, to ‘multiple, divergent, and varied scholarly perspectives on an extensive range of public policy issues.’ …

We object to the premise that higher education faculty should be evaluated based on the diversity of their politics as opposed to the quality of their ideas.

James Grossman
AHA Executive Director

ACLS applauds AHA’s stance and strongly endorses its letter to the Indiana House Education Committee.

We define academic freedom as the state, in the person of elected politicians, administrators, and political appointees, not determining the hiring, evaluation, or curriculum content, and with faculty determining the curriculum and evaluating the performance of students and faculty. 

We also encourage members of our community, especially those in Indiana, to write to their Indiana legislative representatives and the Education Committee expressing their opposition to this proposed bill. 

AHA Letter Opposing SB 202
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