Iowa legislators aim to prohibit the use of 'divisive content' in diversity training

Posted at 6:02 PM, Mar 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-10 19:02:38-05

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Ia. (KMTV) - The Iowa Senate passed legislation this week that would ban "race and sex stereotyping" training at public schools and universities.

Some of the concepts the bill prohibits training on are "that one race or sex is inherently superior to another race or sex," and "that the state of Iowa is fundamentally racist or sexist."

The bill would also require first amendment training for student government and college staff.

Dr. Jonathan Benjamin-Alvarado from the University of Nebraska Omaha calls it chilling.

"We have to be a lot more thoughtful about how we go about doing this, it's unfortunate that people who are completely unqualified to make that evaluation are the ones who are dictating to those individuals how they should do their job," Benjamin-Alvarado said.

Republican State Sen. Jim Carlin supports it, saying he's had complaints from students who feel threatened to give any voice to their political views. Carlin admits he tried to find hard data that shows college campuses lean liberal.

"I had a bill that proposes for an anonymous survey defining the political composition of the professors to get that very thing. I wasn't going to point fingers at anybody, I just said, 'Here's an anonymous survey, let's see where we are," Carlin said. "I tried to get that data."

Jacob Ludwig is a junior at Iowa State University.

"There are professors out there who do a bad job of having an open discussion in their classroom but I think cherry-picking examples of bad professors who go out of their way of silencing the minority opinion in the room isn't fair," Ludwig said.

These bills will be worked on at least for the next three weeks in the House and Senate.