Arizona Feminist Law Profs Beware

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Actually, all profs in Arizona should beware. An Arizona Senate committee approved a bill last week that would fine professors at public universities and colleges for, while working:

  • Endorsing, supporting or opposing any candidate for local, state or national office.
  • Endorsing, supporting or opposing any pending legislation, regulation or rule under consideration by local, state or federal agencies.
  • Endorsing, supporting or opposing any litigation in any court.
  • Advocating”one side of a social, political, or cultural issue that is a matter of partisan controversy.”
  • Hindering military recruiting on campus or endorsing the activities of those who do.

The fine would have to be paid by the individual, not the school. The First Amendment should doom this bill, but the climate for academic freedom in Arizona is obviously not a good one.

The sponsor, Senator Thayer Verschoor, the Republican majority leader, has drawn on women’s studies classes in particular for this bill’s inspiration:

Asked for specifics of the professorial behavior his bill would ban, he cited two examples from his own education at Arizona State University, from which he graduated in 1993. One time, he said, a classroom where his course met was next door to a classroom used by a women’s studies class, which he entered one day by accident.”I came in and all of the male students were dressed like women, and the purpose was supposedly to see how a woman feels. I don’t know how being in a dress and high heels would help with that. That was peculiar,”he said.

– David S. Cohen

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