From a NYTimes article:
"How could this happen?" Ms. Brown asked Representative Gibson C. Armstrong two summers ago, complaining about a physics professor at the York campus of Pennsylvania State University who she said routinely used class time to belittle President Bush and the war in Iraq.
This has turned into a "legislative inquiry" at the state level. I'm not going to defend this guy's actions; I do believe that we should use class to teach our subjects, but I'm totally against restrictions on what we (I) can say in class. I'm really worried that people will over-react to this sort of thing.
The key is that if a professor is expressing a point of view they don't like, they have to be able to respond (i.e. intimidation by the prof is worse than the prof doing something like above). A physics class is, admittedly, the wrong place for a discussion like this. But once a professor has opened that can of worms... I think that, more than anything else, keeps my political jokes to a minimum in classes.
Now, don't get me wrong. There are limits. For example, there are people who believe that Quantum Mechanics is false, and it is possible to build a theory of everything without the Heisenberg uncertainty principle. I would not tolerate slowing down class for a lengthy discussion on that; a certain amount of discussion is illuminating, but...
And those of you that read this and say, "Hey -- but there are already restrictions" -- yes, you are right. There are plenty of things I can say in class and get fired for them. But what is going on here is the legislature is really saying is "I don't trust you teachers, so I'm going to impose restrictions on what you can say." Then figure out how to trust the professors. The more state controls there are on education, the worse the education is going to get. And good people are going to decide they don't want to teach any more.
There is some hope, at least. The Republican chairman of the committee is quoted as the end of the article as saying:
"If our report were issued today," Mr. Stevenson said, "I'd say our institutions of higher education are doing a fine job."