[Vision2020] Gear up for ‘intellectual combat’

Tom Hansen thansen at moscow.com
Thu Oct 6 05:01:47 PDT 2022

Courtesy of today’s Moscow-Pullman Daily News with thanks to Shirley Ringo.


Gear up for ‘intellectual combat’

Colleges and universities are hotbeds of ideas. They are a place where ideas of all sorts may be freely aired and discussed. At least, they should be. Of course, conservative members of the Idaho Legislature have different ideas. In 2020 and 2021, higher education budgets were held up while certain legislators worked for their personal agendas to rein in diversity, equity and inclusion. More recently, legislators are preoccupied with preventing a free discussion of the topic of abortion.

What action should the university take to deal with threats to academic freedom? Roll over or gear up for combat? Clearly, judging from a memo sent to staff, the University of Idaho has chosen the former. Undoubtedly, President C. Scott Green consulted with the best legal minds at the university to compose the memo. This reaction, from the university with the state’s only public law school, is embarrassing and makes me sad.

Staff are probably wondering if they should get measured up for orange jumpsuits. Under what circumstances does discussing pros and cons of abortion become advocating for abortion? Idaho law adopted in 2022 does not make that clear. Extreme abortion laws can, without specificity, extend to contraception. The memo states, “the language of this statute is not a model of clarity and since violation is considered a felony, we are advising a conservative (roll over) approach here, that the university not provide standard birth control itself.”

Don’t make concessions in the area of academic freedom, so critical to the growth of students and for the preservation of democracy. Let’s begin with a challenge to the law. Engage the Idaho chapter of the ACLU. Involve legal minds at the University, including students at the law school. The situation presents a great opportunity for an informative learning experience. Gear up for intellectual combat.

Shirley Ringo



Seeya 'round town, Moscow, because . . .

"Moscow Cares" (the most fun you can have with your pants on)

Tom Hansen
Moscow, Idaho

“A stranger is just a friend you haven’t met.”
- Roy E. Stolworthy
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