Academics Worry Florida's Academic Legislation is Coming to the Rest of the NationHistorians in the News
tags: Florida, academic freedom, teaching history, critical race theory
Over the last few years, Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed laws that changed college tenure systems, displaced Florida universities from commonly accepted accreditation practices, and enacted yearly “viewpoint diversity surveys” from both students and faculty. If the responses are not up to par with the state’s legislature, they will be at risk of losing funding.
“It used to be thought that a university campus was a place where you’d be exposed to a lot of different ideas,” DeSantis said at a press conference after he signed the bill. “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.”
Republicans have long believed that colleges are places that unfairly push liberal perspectives, which led to DeSantis’ “Stop WOKE Act” which regulates what schools and workplaces can teach about race and identity. The legislation went into effect Friday and is already being challenged by University of Central Florida associate professor Robert Cassanello.
Cassanello, who teaches classes in civil rights movements, slavery and Reconstruction, says the law “restricts his ability to accurately and fully teach these subjects.” The state has asked the judge to dismiss the suit.
On Thursday, the board of governors for Florida’s public university system moved forward in approving regulations for enforcing the law, which could result in discipline and termination for those who do not adhere. Universities could also lose funding if they refuse to cooperate.
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