Free Speech

Jessie Appleby and Bill Blanken: Do California Community Colleges 'Mandate Viewpoint Conformity'?

"Science should have no agenda other than a relentless pursuit of the truth.... With DEI, we're expected to search out racism within science curriculum, and it's just not there," says professor Bill Blanken.


This is an audio version of The Reason Livestreamwhich takes place every Thursday at 1 p.m. Eastern on Reason's YouTube channel.

The topic this week was a lawsuit challenging California Community Colleges' new diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility—or DEIA—teaching standards, which allegedly "mandate viewpoint conformity" and "compel professors to teach and preach the State's perspective," according to the lawsuit Palsgaard v. Christian, filed by the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression, or FIRE.  

Reason's Zach Weissmuller and Liz Wolfe welcomed FIRE attorney Jessie Appleby and Bill Blanken, a plaintiff in the case and a chemistry professor at Reedley College in California. Blanken says the standards advanced by the state's community college board amount to  "compelled speech" in the classroom and that he will not comply with them.  

We talked about the details of the case, dove into the substance of the proposed changes in the classroom, discussed the origins of the DEIA standards that now pervade academia and the corporate world, and examined FIRE's other case against Florida's Stop WOKE Act, which prohibits exactly the kind of classroom instruction that California's new standards compel.

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