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Indiana teachers sue after Republican lawmakers pass law regulating teacher tenure – The Daily Reporter

By Associated Press

Two professors are challenging an Indiana law that creates new regulations on faculty tenure at public colleges and universities in a federal lawsuit filed Tuesday.

The law reflects conservative-led efforts in other states to influence higher education deemed unfriendly or hostile toward conservative students and faculty. The two Purdue University-Fort Wayne professors, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana, want parts of the law blocked before it takes effect July 1.

A spokesperson for Purdue University, the named defendant in the case, said the university has not been served with the lawsuit.

“The lawsuit was filed against Purdue University because it is the state institution charged with enforcing the unconstitutional provisions of the law,” the ACLU said in a news release.

Under the law signed by Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb in March, boards of trustees must review the status of tenured professors every five years. Schools have to create a policy that prevents faculty from getting tenure or promotions if they are “unlikely to foster a culture of free inquiry, free expression, and intellectual diversity within the institution.”

Under the law, academics must expose students to a “variety of political or ideological frameworks” at risk to their employment status.

Opponents have said it will make it harder for Indiana schools to compete with other states for talent.

In its complaint filed Tuesday, the ACLU alleges that the new law violates teachers’ First and Fourteenth Amendment rights.

“The law could mean that professors at public colleges or universities must devote equal time to debunked theories in their classrooms along with rigorously studied academic analysis,” the ACLU said in a statement.

The Purdue faculty members challenging the law are Steven A. Carr, professor of communication and director of the Institute for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, and David G. Schuster, associate professor in the history department, according to the lawsuit.