First look at questions asked in controversial Florida university viewpoint diversity survey
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intellectual diversity
The student surveys have 13 total questions that ask whether students feel their university, campus and professors allow free expression to take place.

The University Intellectual Freedom and Viewpoint Diversity student survey mandated by the Republican-led Legislature during the 2021 Session was distributed to college students across the state Monday morning.

The voluntary surveys, developed by the State University System and political researchers from Florida State University’s Institute of Politics, were finally sent to student emails after a judge cleared them Friday, as reported by the Tampa Bay Times.

There are 13 total questions on the student survey that ask whether students feel their university or campus is a place where free political or belief expression can take place, and whether their professors create that environment and to what degree express their own political opinions. Florida Politics obtained screenshots of the questions from the University of Florida’s distribution of the survey.

The survey is largely divided into two sections. The first, containing 11 questions, asks to what extent the survey respondent agrees or disagrees with various statements. That section includes questions ranging from whether there is an environment of free speech on campus to whether professors allow room for “free and welcomed” expression in the classroom.

The second section, which contains two questions, specifically asks respondents whether their professors or university generally lean liberal or conservative, or is more tolerant to liberal or conservative beliefs.

The survey also asks students identity questions, like their race, gender, student status and whether their classes are mostly in-person or online. This is likely due to the law’s requirement that the surveys be a representative sample of the academic institutions’ larger makeup.

The United Faculty of Florida, a union representing faculty at the state’s universities, asked faculty, students and staff to ignore the survey in a letter to its members, according to The Associated Press. The union has opposed the surveys since the bill started making its way through the Legislature.

The union says it is concerned faculty members can be identified and targeted through questions in the faculty version about their demographic background and where they work.

“Florida’s government has no right to know the thoughts, feelings, or political or religious beliefs of anyone, including the higher education community,” the letter said. “Privacy is the bedrock of democracy and a safeguard against autocratic control.”

The results of the survey will be presented to lawmakers during the 2023 Legislative Session.

Tristan Wood

Tristan Wood graduated from the University of Florida in 2021 with a degree in Journalism. A South Florida native, he has a passion for political and accountability reporting. He previously reported for Fresh Take Florida, a news service that covers the Florida Legislature and state political stories operating out of UF’s College of Journalism and Communications. You can reach Tristan at [email protected], or on Twitter @TristanDWood


9 comments

  • Desantis’ mom

    April 5, 2022 at 5:53 am

    Nothing to see here, just a wanna be fascist using his thought police tactics to weed out anyone who doesn’t do the goose step for him.
    Hope you morons are proud, “Free state”, my ass

  • C

    April 5, 2022 at 7:46 am

    ‘The union says it is concerned faculty members can be identified and targeted through questions in the faculty version about their demographic background and where they work.”

    If Teachers are creating a hostile anti-free speech environment they should be targeted and identified. You bigots can’t hide anymore.

  • FreeThinker

    April 5, 2022 at 8:44 am

    It’s quite telling that the union is not in favor of this. They want to continue to suppress free exchange of ideas and diversity of thought. They are only interested in indoctrination, not education. It took way too long but we are on to them.

  • JD

    April 5, 2022 at 10:29 am

    Questions 12 and 13 should be dropped. The others are fine.

    What merit is there in identify the ideology of a professor or school
    based on a student’s perception? It’s nothing more than the extension of their parents at that point.

    I am having trouble seeing a benefit other than to try and suppress it or ridicule it down the road. How would that be free?

    What are people afraid of? Teach critical thinking without ideology. Then teach how all the ideologies, unbiased, scientifically, and let people be “free” to decide for themselves if the ideas have merit.

    Questions 12/13 parallel the affixing a gold star to the academics clothing. Much like the attempt to require political parties on school board ballots (which will be next). That’s pushing indoctrinate itself.

  • hundred3y35

    April 5, 2022 at 10:46 am

    I think the professors are mad because they know that the indoctrination they have been pushing for 25 years is now known. The progressive/communists have owned higher education for too long and have destroyed the free speech on campuses where students don’t even feel free to express themselves because of cancel culture or as it should be known as CENSORSHIP! It sure is funny how certain instructors are worried about being “targeted” but I am sure they would be fine if a student with the “wrong” politics being targeted by their peers and censored due to fear and intimidation.

    • JD

      April 5, 2022 at 11:00 am

      Are you sure educators would angry with that? Where is that evidence? I am not being flippant, I want to know.

      How about taking a survey of them to that accord as well? Before this law was enacted? What is good for the goose is good for the gander.

      You’ve hit also on a potential privacy issue – aren’t voting ballots secret and then by extension, also parts ideology should one be chosen?

      My education was balanced. We had right conservative as well as liberal lefts in the various humanities departments. Their department course curriculums were balanced as such. It was about education and the flow of ideas. There wasn’t some huge conspiracy of indoctrinate going on (and I still don’t see any evidence one being brought forth today – I think this is misperception or anecdotal).

      But fundamental ideology of free thinking was there – the free flow of ideas. Nobody asked what slant someone had or disparage them for it. Merely healthy and evidence based debates at times.

      This survey doesn’t convey much of that. It’s a identification tool the worst, with a litmus of free speech at best.

  • TrumpRubioDesantis Spitroast

    April 5, 2022 at 2:37 pm

    If people ignore the survey, the only ones who take it will be Desantis acolytes; If you feel the survey is a witch hunt, why not respond saying you feel safe to express your views, the college and your profs do a great job, and that the college is equally tolerant of both sides? I took it and answered that way, and at the last page the survey timed out without a confirmation….

  • Doctor is in the house

    April 7, 2022 at 9:10 am

    Professor here–Classrooms across the state, for the most part, tend to filled with diverse perspectives that encourage critical thinking and evaluation of those perspectives. To be fair, there is a bias, but that bias is toward factual information and ideas supported by solid evidence. If anything, ideas have been supressed by the state goverment. There has been a real chilling effect to the laws and the governor’s heavy-handed approach. Administrations subtly (and not so subtly) have encouraged faculty to express views consistent with our governor’s perspectives and withhold ideas that are not. Faculty are afraid to share ideas supported by science, facts, evidence, etc. when they conflict with the governor’s perspective because they fear for their jobs. I fear this may have been part of the intent of the law.

  • tom palmer

    April 7, 2022 at 10:09 am

    This debate over college instruction had been around for a long time when I was in college 50 years ago. This survey is silly and what some student would perceive as either liberal or conservative viewpoints is relative to their viewpoints.

Comments are closed.


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