Indiana Senate Bill 202 passes in House Education Committee; moves to House Chamber

<p>The Indiana Statehouse in downtown Indianapolis. <strong>Eric Pritchett, DN</strong></p>

The Indiana Statehouse in downtown Indianapolis. Eric Pritchett, DN

Indiana Senate Bill (SB) 202 passed in the House Education Committee with eight yeas and four nays Feb. 21. 

The bill, which discusses “duties of state educational institutions' diversity committees,” contains decisions that would change the appointment processes of public universities’ Boards of Trustees, change the process of tenure and change regulations for students or employees to “submit complaints that a faculty member or contractor is not meeting certain criteria related to free inquiry, free expression,  intellectual diversity and establishes requirements regarding the procedures,” amongst other details.  

SB 202 was previously heard Feb.14 as a hearing-only session, allowing for the Feb. 21 hearing to be ‘amend and vote’ only. 

The author of SB 202, Senator Spencer Deery (R) of District 23, shared in the committee meeting Feb. 21 that his reasoning behind creating this legislation is to “put in the code for the first time protections for tenured faculty against retaliation for the content of research or criticizing the administration or for academic freedom.”

SB 202 has been met with controversy and pushback from educators at Indiana colleges, including Ball State’s American Association of University Professors (AAUP) chapter. Educators fear the bill will limit their ability to teach content that may not be seen as “intellectually diverse,” by the bill’s standards. 

“[SB 202] opens the door for increased authoritarianism,”  Jennifer Erickson said on behalf of Ball State AAUP. “Higher education should be the place we are able to fight that and they are trying to take that away to say.”

Representative Edward DeLaney (D) of District 86 voiced concerns about the bill during the discussion of amendments Feb. 21.

"I think that we, the legislature, are substituting our opinion of that, of the University and its faculty," Rep. DeLaney said during the amendment discussion, "It's not our job to run the universities... or set up these disciplinary procedures."

The Ball State University Faculty Council “rejects the provisions in SB 202,” in a vote of 30 in favor, 10 opposed and two abstaining, according to a press release from Feb. 15. 

“We, therefore, urge all members of the Indiana General Assembly to reject this measure. We also call on all our constituents, members of the university community and supporters of academic freedom in Indiana to actively lobby their representatives to oppose this measure,” the faculty council said in a statement.

SB 202 will move to the House Chamber for a third reading. Information about the upcoming committee meetings can be found at

Contact Olivia Ground via email at  or on X @liv_ground_25.


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