National AAUP Condemns Florida University Presidents' Pledge to Root out Critical Race TheoryBreaking News
tags: Florida, censorship, AAUP, academic freedom, critical race theory
In a statement Friday, the American Association of University Professors condemned Florida’s college presidents for committing this week to root out course content promoting “critical race theory or related concepts” by Feb. 1.
“The hypocrisy is glaring, as has been the case so often recently in Florida,” the statement said. “But the danger is very real. Censorship of ideas has absolutely no place in a democracy.”
The national organization, founded in 1915, stated it was “appalled at the blatant violation of academic freedom” and said it was exploring options, including an investigation and possible censure.
“In a democracy, higher education is a common good which requires that instructors have full freedom in their teaching to select materials and determine the approach to the subject,” the statement said. “Instead, the (Florida College System) presidents, while giving lip service to academic freedom, have announced their intention to censor teaching and learning by expunging ideas they want to suppress. By dictating course content, they are also usurping the primary responsibility for the curriculum traditionally accorded the faculty under principles of shared governance.”
The presidents of Florida’s 28 state colleges — including Hillsborough Community College, St. Petersburg College and Pasco-Hernando State College — released a statement on Wednesday that said in part they would not support “any institutional practice, policy or academic requirement that compels belief in critical race theory or related concepts such as intersectionality.”
Intersectionality is a recognition that discrimination and oppression in society are often interwoven, overlapping and complex. The concept aims to convey, for example, how Black men and white women can experience discrimination in ways that are both similar and different.
The college presidents further stated that any course material or instruction that includes discussion of critical race theory will present it as “one of several theories and in an objective manner.”
Their statement came as Gov. Ron DeSantis steps up his effort to rid Florida higher education of “trendy ideologies,” as he described it in his inaugural speech earlier this month.
Irene Mulvey, president of the national professors group, said college presidents should act as firewalls against outside influence on their institutions.
“This is a move toward authoritarianism, totalitarianism,” she said. “The fact that the Florida college presidents have, seemingly unprompted, gone along with this kind of move toward authoritarianism has raised the alarm bell to a five-alarm fire.”
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