Gov. DeSantis OKs academic surveys to ensure campuses aren’t ‘hotbeds for stale ideologies’

Ron DeSantis 5.12.21
'Unfortunately, now the norm is really, these are more intellectually repressive environments.'

During a stop in Lee County, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed legislation requiring university professors to be surveyed on ideology.

“It used to be thought that a university campus was a place where you would be exposed to a lot of different ideas,” DeSantis said. “Unfortunately, now the norm is really, these are more intellectually repressive environments. You have orthodoxies that are promoted and other viewpoints are shunned, or even suppressed. We don’t want that in Florida.”

He spoke at Three Oaks Middle School, where he signed multiple pieces of legislation involving Florida’s civics curriculum. He also signed a bill (HB 233) that requires annual intellectual diversity surveys of Florida’s university and college professors.

He said hiring faculty with a range of political views and values would be essential to providing a quality education in Florida’s public institutions.

“You need to have a true contest of ideas,” he said. “Students should not be shielded from ideas, and we want robust First Amendment speech on our college and university campuses.”

DeSantis said too often, he hears from parents concerned that if they send a child to a college or university setting, they will be “indoctrinated.”

“We obviously want our universities to be focused on critical thinking, academic rigor,” he said. “We do not want them as basically hotbeds for stale ideology. That’s not worth tax dollars and it’s not something that we will be supporting.”

The idea of an intellectual diversity survey has been debated in the Legislature for years but passed this Session.

The legislation was carried in the House and Senate by Lee County lawmakers.

Rep. Spencer Roach, a North Fort Myers Republican, said higher education has focused on diversity as far as race, gender and religion but ignored philosophical diversity.

“That tells me they have placed a premium on people who look different,” he said. “That’s not diversity, that’s conformity.”

House Speaker Chris Sprowls said universities need to be more focused on diversity of thought.

“When we’ve decided one ideological standard will win the day it means we are losing because we are not having real conversations,” he said.

He said academic research shows that since 2013, students at universities have been deprived of a marketplace of ideas on campus.

“Rigorous debates where we could say things, sometimes silly things, so we could test out ideas to find out what it is we truly believe in,” Sprowls explained of that marketplace.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].


  • He sucks

    June 22, 2021 at 5:49 pm

    Duhsantis is such a dumb ass

  • Tom Palmer

    June 22, 2021 at 6:25 pm

    I’m not sure at the heart of this proposal is whether it is an attempt to expand discussion or to limit it.

  • ed c

    June 24, 2021 at 8:24 pm

    I read this a half dozen times and still cant believe this knuckle dragging governor thinks he can do something like this . This is social engineering and nothing more besides being an invasion of privacy . Rank this with putting Japanese americans in camps during world war 2, or McCarthy;s witch hunt for communists . I mean if he removed the liberal democrats that are teachers from schools the only thing left would be the republican janitors that supported Trump

Comments are closed.


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