Midwest Archives Conference Statement opposing Ohio HB327

On January 10, 2022, the Society of Ohio Archivists (SOA) released a statement strongly opposing Ohio HB327. As SOA notes, this noxious bill, “infringes upon free speech and interferes with the teaching and research work of not just archivists, but librarians, teachers, professors, and workplace educators.” The bill is currently pending in Ohio’s House of Representatives’ State and Local Government Committee.

Midwest Archives Conference stands firmly behind SOA in opposing this legislation. MAC believes that the bill was drafted in bad faith and with underhanded political motives, and carries the real risk of disastrous effects on civic education in Ohio. As the statement says, “All Ohioans deserve to see themselves reflected in the historical record. The silences in the archives that HB327 creates will change the way current and future generations understand and learn from the past.” Such silences make the future of a democratic society untenable. The bill purports to eliminate “divisive concepts” from being taught in Ohio schools, but in doing so it prevents a full and comprehensive understanding of history by Ohio schoolchildren. It demands a “both-sides” position be taught even where such a position is not factually warranted, such as the evils of American slavery. It erases the presence and achievements of racial and sexual minorities from the historical record. Finally, it threatens the careers and futures of Ohio schoolteachers, librarians, and other education professionals.

Ohio is not the only state considering these bills. This ahistorical, anti-democratic, and anti-truth trend has spread across the Midwest, with eleven other states in the MAC region passing or debating similar legislation. The Midwest Archives Conference opposes these as well.

Midwest Archives Conference is one of the nation’s largest regional professional associations for archivists, representing 13 states (including Ohio) and comprised of more than 800 individual members.