Florida’s College Intellectual Diversity Survey Is Good, Actually
The culture-warring between Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and progressive educators reached a new level this week as the governor signed a bill to evaluate “intellectual diversity” at public colleges.
Or did it?
On Tuesday, DeSantis signed the Intellectual Freedom and Viewpoint Diversity Assessment into law. DeSantis commented at a press conference that day that colleges have become “hotbeds for stale ideology.” He added, “It used to be thought that a university campus was a place where you’d be exposed to a lot of different ideas. Unfortunately, now the norm is, these are more intellectually repressive environments. You have orthodoxies that are promoted, and other viewpoints are shunned or even suppressed.”
The Times notes that DeSantis didn’t provide any examples of this happening when he signed the bill. But Reason‘s Robby Soave just noted a training session at the University of Oklahoma that encouraged professors to stop students from saying things others might find offensive; the trainers even claimed that free speech does not apply in college classrooms. DeSantis and Florida lawmakers are not just inventing a problem here.
And while the coverage might give readers the impression that this law is of a piece with the governor’s well-publicized assault on Critical Race Theory and his push to make schools develop civics programs that teach kids that communism is bad, the Florida bill’s text shows that it isn’t bad, shouldn’t be particularly controversial, and probably wouldn’t have gotten as much attention if it hadn’t emerged amid all this fighting about what schools teach.
The bill does not mandate or punish the teaching of any particular point of view. Nor does it ask students or teachers what their personal views
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