After whining non-stop about tech company “censorship” when private businesses enforced their terms of service on Agent Orange, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis showed us what honest-to-dog censorship looks like when he signed a bill banning the 1619 Project and discussions of critical race theory in Florida’s public schools. Now he’s out to identify thought-crimes at state universities: [Miami Herald]
In his continued push against the “indoctrination” of students, Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday signed legislation that will require public universities and colleges to survey students, faculty and staff about their beliefs and viewpoints to support “intellectual diversity.”
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.
When asked, DeSantis didn’t name any instances of indoctrination — he says he hears “worries” from parents. But lack of evidence that legislation is needed to address a problem is no obstacle to DeSantis, who follows the Trump-GOP model of government by trolling. DeSantis couldn’t identify a single example of critical race theory being taught in K-12 public schools, or trans girls dominating girls’ sports teams, or widespread voter fraud. Yet he championed and signed legislation addressing all these fictional problems.
I’m not happy with my alma mater’s response to the latest outrage:
The University of Florida issued a statement that upheld the Gainesville-based school as a “marketplace of ideas where a wide variety of opinions are expressed and independent inquiry and vigorous academic deliberation are valued.”
“We believe the survey will reflect that, and we look forward to widespread participation across campus,” the statement said.
Maybe they felt like they had to say that since they’re probably in a shitty financial position after decades of budget cuts, followed by the pandemic, and have been implicitly threatened with further budget cuts. But I hope the students freep the living fuck out of that survey, at UF and every other state school.
DeSantis ran as a Trump acolyte to win the GOP primary but ran toward the center to get elected, which he did by a hair. When first in office, he did some non-Trumpy things, like increasing budgets to address environmental problems and raising teacher pay. I’m not sure exactly when he decided to stop governing altogether and commit to full-time trolling. Maybe it was the pandemic and the undeserved praise he collected from political gossip rags that credited him for Florida’s weather.
As I’ve mentioned, he probably figures Florida is getting redder, and the evidence of the last two election cycles bears that out. I keep hoping his full-time hard-right trolling will be a turn-off to voters, but I guess we’ll have to wait until next year to see if Florida has gone full Alabama.