In Florida, DeSantis’ plans for colleges rattle some academics.
My Note: If you think the "Don't Say Gay" bill that DeSantis pushed through the Florida legislature applies only to K through 3rd grades then think again. There is the “Stop WOKE Act”. Remember DeSantis is effectively running for president and with a future Republican House and Senate, like he has in Florida, plus the SCOTUS that is currently sitting, he will have free reign to bully all US higher education system with similar bills. He is a bully!
BY: Susan Svrluga, Lori Rozsa
In his efforts to remake higher education in Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis has signed laws that alter the tenure system, remove Florida universities from commonly accepted accreditation practices, and mandate annual “viewpoint diversity surveys” from students and faculty.
DeSantis (R) also pushed through legislation he dubbed the “Stop WOKE Act” that regulates what schools, including universities, and workplaces can teach about race and identity. The legislation — which went into effect Friday — already faces a legal challenge. [When the challenges get to the SCOTUS what do you think will happen?]
The lawsuit argues that the act violates constitutional rights and would have a dangerous chilling effect on academic freedom. A judge is expected to rule soon on a request by University of Central Florida associate professor Robert Cassanello to block the law. This week, the judge denied similar requests from other plaintiffs, saying they lacked standing. The state has asked a judge to dismiss the suit.
Cassanello, who teaches classes in civil rights movements, Jim Crow America, and emancipation and Reconstruction argued that the law “restricts his ability to accurately and fully teach these subjects.”
Meanwhile, the board of governors for Florida’s public university system took initial steps Thursday to approve regulations for enforcing the law, with potential penalties including discipline and termination for employees who do not comply. The law also ties some university funding to compliance.
The First Amendment to the Constitution protects speech no matter how offensive its content. Restrictions on speech by public colleges and universities amount to government censorship, in violation of the Constitution. Such restrictions deprive students of their right to invite speech they wish to hear, debate speech with which they disagree, and protest speech they find bigoted or offensive. An open society depends on liberal education, and the whole enterprise of liberal education is founded on the principle of free speech.