On Tuesday in Tallahassee, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signed legislation that reeks of Big Brotherism a la Orwell’s famed novel. 1984, requiring that students, faculty, and staff at public colleges and universities in the Sunshine State reveal their political views in an effort to encourage “intellectual diversity.”
According to the Tampa Bay Times:
The survey will discern “the extent to which competing ideas and perspectives are presented” in public universities and colleges, and seeks to find whether students, faculty and staff “feel free to express beliefs and viewpoints on campus and in the classroom,” according to the bill.
The measure, which goes into effect July 1, does not specify what will be done with the survey results. But DeSantis and Sen. Ray Rodrigues, the sponsor of the bill, suggested on Tuesday that budget cuts could be looming if universities and colleges are found to be “indoctrinating” students.
Indoctrinating students with what? Facts and information? It seems every Republican’s worst nightmare is that people will make their own political choices based on their experience, education, and personal beliefs.
At a press conference when he signed the bill into law, DeSantis declared:
“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.”
While Florida Republicans say they welcome the legislation as a way to encourage free speech on campuses across the state, debate on the controversial legislation revealed that many in the state GOP haven’t thought through the issue and where it could lead:
Sen. Lori Berman, D-Boynton Beach, asked Rodrigues, R-Estero, if the information could be “used to punish or reward colleges or universities?” She wondered: “Might faculty be promoted or fired because of their political beliefs?”
Rodrigues said no. But the language in the bill, and the statements made Tuesday, do not back that assertion. The bill also offers no assurances that the survey’s answers will be anonymous, and there is no clarity on who can use the data and for what purpose.
Big Brother just got a lot bigger and more intrusive in the state of Florida, all so Ron DeSantis can build a name for himself as he prepares to run for president in 2024.
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