Commentary: Ohio Bills Bad for Students, Professors, Universities

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The YSU-OEA is calling on Ohio House and Senate members to remove the provisions outlined in Senate Bill 83 and House Bill 151 regarding higher education from the budget bills.

Recognized as the most significant assault on organized workers since the introduction of Senate Bill 5 in 2011, these bills undermine the fundamental rights of higher education faculty and staff to advocate for their students and the quality of education they deserve.

These bills introduce untenable and unfunded mandates that divert resources away from classrooms, creating a bloated bureaucracy at the expense of students. As educators and administrators grapple with unnecessary red tape, students will face diminished support and increased tuition costs. It is evident that SB 83 and HB 151 prioritize bureaucracy over the well-being of students and the overall quality of education.

In addition, if enacted, these bills pose a direct threat to the principles of free thought, free speech and free enterprise. Ohio’s colleges and universities serve as vital incubators of jobs and major contributors to the state’s economy. However, the passage of SB 83 and HB 151 would place Ohio at a severe competitive disadvantage, making it increasingly challenging to attract exceptional students and faculty to our campuses. Furthermore, it would hinder the development of essential skills required for the state’s next generation of entrepreneurs and leaders to thrive in the workforce.

Finally, there is an additional concern that these bills will impose one-size-fits-all mandates that erode the role of colleges and universities as crucial marketplaces of ideas. These bills undermine the ability of students to develop effective communication and critical thinking skills, essential for their future success. By stifling the diverse exchange of ideas, SB 83 and HB 151 threaten the academic freedom and intellectual growth that should flourish within higher education institutions.

“These bills are bad for students, bad for professors, bad for universities and bad for Ohio. Although it is titled the Ohio Higher Education Enhancement Act, it is far more likely that this legislation will diminish the education our students receive” YSU-OEA President Mark Vopat said. “That being said, there is still time for our elected officials and Gov. [Mike] DeWine to reverse course on this legislation.”

The YSU-OEA joins the growing opposition to SB 83 and HB 151 as individuals and organizations unite to protect the best interests of students, higher education and Ohio as a whole. Over 500 individual faculty members from across Ohio’s public universities, the Inter-University Council of Ohio and The Ohio State University Board of Trustees oppose these bills. The consequences of these bills are clear: They are detrimental to students, harmful to the integrity of higher education and pose a significant threat to Ohio’s future.


Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.