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Burgum signs bill banning 'mandatory, non-credit training' on 'specified concepts' at ND universities

Bill prohibits "mandatory, non-credit training" of specified concepts, bars universities from asking students, faculty about their ideological viewpoints.

North Dakota Capitol
North Dakota Capitol in Bismarck. Forum file photo

BISMARCK — Gov. Doug Burgum has signed a bill addressing the instruction of “specified concepts” at universities in North Dakota.

Senate Bill 2247 was signed into law on Monday, April 24, and will take effect on Aug. 1.

The bill, introduced by Sen. Bob Paulson, R-Minot, prohibits "mandatory non-credit training” of specified concepts on university campuses. The bill defines specified concepts as those that assert the U.S. is inherently racist or sexist, the rule of law does not exist, that all Americans are not created equal and endowed with inalienable rights and that meritocracies are oppressive by nature, among others.

Senate Bill 2247 also prohibits universities from discriminating against individuals for refusing to endorse specified concepts. Additionally, institutions may not ask the “ideological or political viewpoint of a student, job applicant, job candidate or candidate for promotion or tenure.”

The bill also states that “if an institution under the control of the State Board of Higher Education employs an individual whose primary duties include diversity, the duties of that employee also must include efforts to strengthen and increase intellectual diversity among students and faculty of the institution at which the individual is employed.”

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The bill does not prohibit university faculty from teaching, researching or publishing about specified concepts. It also contains a clause prohibiting an institution from infringing upon the First Amendment rights of students and faculty.

The bill was amended to remove a requirement that all North Dakota University System institutions conduct a biennial survey to assess the campus climate regarding diversity of thought.

Banish covers news pertaining to K-12 and higher education, as well as county commission coverage.
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