Thursday, March 01, 2007


Making Diversity the Handmaiden of Repression

Missouri State Rep. Jane Cunningham, crowned by those who know her in the Show Me State as the queen of bad ideas, has introduced a piece of legislation titled "The Emily Brooker Intellectual Diversity Act" (HB-213).

Cunningham's bill would require public colleges and universities to "report annually to the general assembly detailing the steps the institution is taking to ensure intellectual diversity and the free exchange of ideas."

Intellectual diversity, in Cunningham's Orwellian doublespeak, is defined as "the foundation of a learning environment that exposes students to a variety of political, ideological, religious, and other perspectives, when such perspectives relate to the subject matter being taught or issues being discussed."

According to Martha Ott, a Democrat who ran against her, Cunningham has worked with All Children Matter, an out-of-state lobbyist group, to fund pro-voucher candidates across Missouri. As of the August 2006 primary election, this group had given approximately $469,000 to the campaigns of candidates who support the lobbyist's goal of diverting public funds into private schools.

A letter Cunningham wrote to retain her chairmanship of the House Education Committee bragged that "I was able to attract ... generous PAC money in large part because of my chairmanship of the Missouri House Education Committee. Remaining in that leadership position will help secure the continuation of these benefits to our caucus and to the State."

Naturally, Cunningham's admission that she'd used her position as chair to bring in PAC money for pro-voucher Republicans resulted in an ethics complaint.

The Columbia Daily Tribune reported on June 7, 2005:

Meeting secretly, the House Ethics Committee deadlocked yesterday on a complaint alleging ethics breaches 'tantamount to bribery' against a Republican lawmaker who suggested she could attract campaign cash for Republicans if given a House leadership position. The 4-4 partisan vote on a motion to dismiss the matter means the complaint against Rep. Jane Cunningham of Chesterfield technically is still alive.

Suppose the diversity Cunningham really has in mind might have something to do with, oh, teaching intelligent design or creationism?


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