Republican State Senator Ray Rodrigues, who proposed the rule, suggested that if study houses are found to be indoctrinating students, they could be taken out of funds.
The legislature of Florida, United States, passed a law that requires all state universities to conduct a survey that explores the ideological spectrum among their students, teachers, and workers in general. According to legislators and Governor Ron DeSantis, the goal is to ensure that there is a plurality of voices in the study centers.
"The survey will discern the extent to which different ideas and perspectives are presented in public universities and colleges and will seek to know whether students, faculty, and employees feel free to show their ideas and points of view on campus and in schools. Classes", according to the text of the legislation.
The rule has already been signed by the state governor, Republican DeSantis, and will take effect on July 1.
The law was proposed by Republican state senator Ray Rodrigues, who suggested that if universities are found to be indoctrinating students, they could be deprived of funds. Although this is not specified in the text of the law, the governor supports it.
DeSantis has expressed on many occasions that he is concerned that universities are indoctrinating students in what he calls "orthodox ideological tendencies." Although he has not given details of how university it would be happening, or precisely what would be the predominant ideology in the academic fields, the supposed preponderance of leftist ideas in the study houses is a frequent complaint in conservative circles.
"That type of education does not deserve our taxpayers' money, and it is not something that we are going to support in the future," DeSantis said about it during a press conference in the city of Fort Myers. The college campus was thought to be the place where one person encountered different ideologies. Unfortunately, it is now common knowledge that there are more ideologically oppressive environments. Orthodoxies are promoted, without giving place to other points of view that are suppressed".
But while on the one hand, they assure that this is being done to ensure the plurality of ideas. The Democratic party has criticized the measure saying that it can generate an environment that does not invite freedom of expression by allowing politicians to get involved in academic issues.
From one of the leading public universities in the state, the University of Florida located in Gainesville, they declared that their study center "is a market open to a great variety of opinions that are freely expressed. Independent questions and vigorous academic deliberation are valued. We believe that the survey will reflect this", they affirmed in a written statement to the press.
Democratic state senator Lori Berman asked as the law was debated in Tallahassee if the information obtained by the poll was going to be used to punish or reward colleges. "Will people be promoted or fired based on their ideological positions?" I ask. Rodrigues, who was presenting the law, said no.
In addition to the survey, the law prohibits universities or colleges from limiting speeches as they are considered uncomfortable, unpleasant, or offensive. Students will also be allowed to record lectures without asking the professor for permission, either for academic reasons or to use the recording as evidence in case of litigation against the university.