Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Kavanagh amendment targeting universities

...at first glance, it appears he may be serving as the hatchet man for the Goldwater Institute, but to give Rep. John Kavanagh his due, he's a smart man and could have thought of this all on his own.

On Wednesday, the House Appropriations Committee, chaired by Rep. John Kavanagh (R-Fountain Hills), will consider a strike-everything amendment (aka - "striker") to SB1116.

That proposed amendment reads, in part -
...universities under the jurisdiction of the Arizona board of regents may not:

1. Provide taxpayer funded programs, scholarships or courses if the purpose of the program, scholarship or course is to advocate public policy.

2. Allow taxpayer funded organizations, institutes or centers to operate on the campus of the university or on behalf of or in association with the university if the purpose of the organization, institute or center is to advocate public policy.
Based on a cursory examination of the websites of ASU and U of A, at least two possible targets of the measure seem obvious -

U of A's Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy

ASU's Morrison Institute for Public Policy

The Udall Center focuses on immigration and indigenous peoples, while Morrison tends to focus on economic and governance issues.

The institutes serve as a reasoned counterweight to both the Goldwater Institute and the nativists in the lege (of which group Kavanagh is a leading light).

And neither of those groups like the competition.

Other institutes that could also be targeted, or at least caught up as collateral damage include:

The National Institute for Civil Discourse at U of A

The Global Institute for Sustainability at ASU

I'm guessing neither one of those is the main target here, but none of the Rs in the lege will complain if they go away.

Anyway, the meeting will be Wednesday (tomorrow as of this writing) at 2 p.m. in HHR1 at the state capitol.


John said...

The law was prompted by the comments of an ASU professor in an Arizona Republic column he wrote, in which he announced the formation of a new ASU center.

In speaking about the new center, he said, "It is committed to producing programs and scholarships that reject the false dichotomy between intellectual work and social action and that vigorously influence policy and advocate change."

I believe that such activity should not be funded with taxpayer money.

I have met with representatives of all three universities and the Board of Regents and we are crafting language that protects individual political expression and still allows employees and centers to research, report and even recommend policy, short of using public funds, facilities and resources to advocate and push agendas. Exceptions are also being carved out for university lobbyists, school clubs and newspapers.

State Rep. John Kavanagh

Phoenix Justice said...

Contrary to the claims by "John", I see this striker as an attempt to stifle debate and to allow only one voice to be heard: That of the conservative Goldwater Institute.

I also see it as another battle in the conservatives war on public education, as I have written about elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

Well, Mr. K. at least you didn't pull a FOIA on Prof. Whitaker. I swear you would love to keep the people of Arizona ignorant and fighting with each other whilst you rob them blind.

Your argument about "no public funding" is such a typical repug response to something you don't like. Combatting hatred!!!!

Just hang AZ out to dry you tinpot dictators, she's just about dead anyway