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Colorado legislators kill anti-diversity training measure

By The Associated Press

DENVER — A Colorado House committee yesterday killed a resolution that condemned mandatory diversity training for college students and said students have "the right to speak disapprovingly of certain sexual behaviors."

The resolution, sponsored by Rep. Dave Schultheis, R-Colorado Springs, was touted as an effort to remind state colleges and universities of students' First Amendment rights.

A Republican state representative, Rep. Al White, R-Winter Park, sided with Democrats in a 6-5 vote in the House Education Committee. White said that in citing some rights, the resolution ignored other constitutional protections.

"An attempt to encapsulate the broad freedoms of the First Amendment in a few paragraphs is to limit the other rights," he said.

The vote came after an hourlong debate on diversity training.

Schultheis said such training often forced students to violate their faith or conscience. Rep. Angie Paccione, D-Fort Collins, said many college departments, such as education, require diversity training.

"If we say mandatory diversity training is somehow condemned, we run the risk of hurting students' academic programs," she said.

College students preparing to become teachers should learn to deal with a variety of ethnicities, Paccione said.

Many conservative college students say their overwhelmingly liberal professors stifle classroom dissent.

Last month, Rep. Shawn Mitchell, R-Broomfield, shelved a bill meant to defend the rights of conservative college students. The bill encountered opposition from college administrators and some other Republicans.

Mitchell said he withdrew the proposal after reaching a deal with the presidents of three universities to continue discussing the issue.

In January, Republican students at the University of Colorado in Boulder launched a Web site to gather complaints about left-leaning faculty members, saying they wanted to document discrimination against conservative students and indoctrination in the liberal viewpoint.

Most faculty and many Democrats deny liberal indoctrination exists on campuses.

Colorado educators worry academic bill of rights hurts free speech
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