Apr 24, 2024 - News

OSU hiring leader for new civic center

Old photographs of U.S. Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase sitting down.

Salmon P. Chase, a 19th-century Ohio governor and chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, is the namesake of a new OSU student civic center. Photo: Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

A new civic center at OSU dedicated to "intellectual diversity" is searching for its first executive director.

Why it matters: The Salmon P. Chase Center for Civics, Culture and Society was created by GOP lawmakers as part of a broader effort to curb what they perceive to be campus liberalism.

State of play: The center was approved and funded through the state budget last summer.

  • Sen. Jerry C. Cirino, R-Kirtland, has alleged that university faculty are "predominantly liberal" and the center is meant to "move the dial just a little bit in favor of true intellectual diversity."
  • Cirino has proposed other reforms to higher education, like banning mandatory diversity, equity and inclusion programs and prohibiting campuses from opining on "any controversial belief or policy" except for supporting U.S. foreign wars.

Between the lines: OSU has opposed most of these efforts, but endorsed the creation of the center.

Zoom in: The state budget allocates $10 million over two years toward the center, which "shall conduct teaching and research in the historical ideas, traditions, and texts that have shaped the American constitutional order and society."

  • It is required to have at least 15 tenure-track faculty members.

What's next: The center's academic council, which includes an OSU political science professor, a Capital University law professor and five other scholars from out of state, is leading a nationwide search for an executive director.

  • OSU's president will hire the director, subject to Board of Trustees approval.
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