In light of the concerns about activities of some of our university professors, I thought it would be worth revisiting two letters published in the Register, in 2017. They caught my attention and I saved them. The schools always complain that they are not receiving adequate funding from taxpayers. The first letter, from Donald Doudna, PhD, published August 17, 2017, states that “It is fascinating that full professors at both institutions have a teaching load of two classes per year and six office hours per week.” He also states that “About 27 percent are over 65 and seem to be retired in place.” Among other things he advocates requiring a minimum of three classes per year for tenured faculty, eliminating high pay, low-performance faculty positions and reducing compensation when faculty receive compensation for outside consulting, which decreases their time working with students.
The second letter from Paul Joslin, Drake University emeritus professor of science education, published August 23, 2017, supports Dr. Doudna’s statements. He says he “taught eight courses per year, some as an adjunct at Iowa and ISU.” He concludes “If every Iowa and ISU professor taught at least six courses per year, tuition could be reduced.” I doubt that most Iowans realize that Iowa and Iowa State are allowing a situation such as this to exist. I have seen nothing from either school denying the statements that these gentlemen have made.
FREE SPEECH ON CAMPUS
The Senate Education Committee has passed Senate Study Bill 1205 regarding free speech on university campuses. There are a number of parts to the bill, but it generally requires that public universities have materials and programs insuring free speech on the campus, and procedures to prohibit retaliation against those who file a complaint regarding free speech. The bill requires school districts to protect students and faculty from discrimination based on political bias. The debate on free speech reminds me that the first amendment is not needed for speech that you, or the authorities, agree with. It only matters when it comes to speech that you, or the authorities, do not agree with.
The Senate passed SF 265 that allows parents to request that their child repeat this year’s grade if he or she did not make sufficient progress in the current school year. The school must retain the student if the parent makes the request by August 15. The bill now goes over to the House.
DUTY TO REMAIN AT ACCIDENT SCENE
The Senate Judiciary Committee passed SF 301, my bill that increases penalties for drivers who know or have reason to believe that they caused an injury or death in an accident. The penalty in cases of an injury is a class D felony. The penalty in the case of a death is a class C felony. The current law prohibits the driver from leaving the scene if there is an injury or death, but it does not distinguish between cases where there the driver has no reason to believe he or she caused the injury or death, and cases where the driver knows or has reason to believe that he or she caused an injury or death. This bill was requested by Iowa County Attorneys to close a loophole in the current law.
As always please feel free to contact me with your ideas or concerns.