The House on Tuesday ditched a controversial proposal that would have required state colleges and universities to survey students and faculty members about their viewpoints.
Rep. Ray Rodrigues pushed the surveys as part of a wide-ranging higher education bill (HB 613). But on Tuesday, the Estero Republican said the so-called intellectual freedom survey was “negotiated out of the bill” with the Senate and will no longer be considered during this year’s legislative session.
The move was a concession to the Senate, which opposed the idea last year and this year. Senate Appropriations Chairman Rob Bradley warned Senators last spring that the survey idea would likely keep coming back and urged the Senate to continue blocking it. House Republicans, however, have pushed for the surveys to test whether people at colleges and universities feel free to “express their beliefs and viewpoints on campus and in the classroom.”
But the survey idea has drawn fierce pushback from faculty members. Speaking to lawmakers in December, Florida State University professor Matthew Lata questioned whether students and faculty members could face repercussions if they refuse to share their viewpoints. Lata worried that survey results could affect hiring practices at colleges and universities. The House on Tuesday took up the Senate version of the wide-ranging higher education bill (SB 72).