Campus Free Speech

Florida's College Intellectual Diversity Survey Is Good, Actually

No, it’s not an attempt to monitor faculty and student views. It’s an attempt to make sure they’re allowed to express them.

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The culture-warring between Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and progressive educators reached a new level this week as the governor signed a bill to evaluate "intellectual diversity" at public colleges.

Or did it?

Certainly that's what this story in the Tampa Bay Times suggests. The Washington Post also presents it that way. But this is more than merely a partisan fight over ideology on campus.

On Tuesday, DeSantis signed the Intellectual Freedom and Viewpoint Diversity Assessment into law. DeSantis commented at a press conference that day that colleges have become "hotbeds for stale ideology." He added, "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."

The Times notes that DeSantis didn't provide any examples of this happening when he signed the bill. But Reason's Robby Soave just noted a training session at the University of Oklahoma that encouraged professors to stop students from saying things others might find offensive; the trainers even claimed that free speech does not apply in college classrooms. DeSantis and Florida lawmakers are not just inventing a problem here.

And while the coverage might give readers the impression that this law is of a piece with the governor's well-publicized assault on Critical Race Theory and his push to make schools develop civics programs that teach kids that communism is bad, the Florida bill's text shows that it isn't bad, shouldn't be particularly controversial, and probably wouldn't have gotten as much attention if it hadn't emerged amid all this fighting about what schools teach.

The bill does not mandate or punish the teaching of any particular point of view. Nor does it ask students or teachers what their personal views are. It requires state universities to conduct an annual survey to determine "the extent to which competing ideas and perspectives are presented and members of the university community, including students, faculty, and staff, feel free to express their beliefs and viewpoints on campus and in the classroom."

Schools could conceivably face financial punishment someday if the powers that be decide that they aren't intellectually diverse enough. But there's no actual penalty in the bill. This is not like Idaho yanking funding from colleges that allegedly teach Critical Race Theory. It's not even like Florida's own ban on teaching Critical Race Theory (or rather, what the Board of Education defines as Critical Race Theory) in secondary schools.

The Times piece gets a little bendy attempting to convince readers that this bill could be used to reward or punish individual professors for their views. The reporter insists that one of the bill's proponents, Sen. Ray Rodriques (R–Estero), is wrong when he says professors can't be punished because the bill "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." Except there's the entire First Amendment—and a bunch of Supreme Court case law—protecting professors from punishment for what they say as long as it's within the scope of their duties. That specific protections aren't included within this bill doesn't mean they don't already exist.

Over at The Volokh Institute, Jonathan Adler, law professor at the Case Western Reserve University School of Law, also takes issue with how the Tampa Bay Times has decided to characterize the bill's contents:

If the surveys called for in this bill facilitate actual assaults on academic freedom, any such assaults should be condemned. But the problem in such instances would be the actual assaults on academic freedom, not the effort to determine whether state educational institutions actually provide open learning environments. In recent years we have seen political activists abuse open records laws to pursue academics they did not like. The problem in such cases was not the existence of open records laws, but their political misuse. The same would hold true here.

The bill also expressly says that schools may not "shield students, faculty, or staff at state universities from free speech protected under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution." This wording would seem to by its nature to preclude firing faculty for their positions .

There may be a certain hypocrisy to banning Critical Race Theory from discussion in public schools while at the same time passing laws aimed at ensuring intellectual diversity on campus. But that doesn't make this new bill bad. If anything, the ideas behind it underline how wrong it was to try to control how public schools talk about racism in the first place.

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  1. Is this where we pretend that Florida Republicans want to undertake a good-faith survey of the political beliefs on campus because they are genuinely curious and want to add to the body of knowledge, like the good academic scholars that we know they are?

    1. Another insightful comment from Reason.com’s leading defender of CRT in public schools. Way to go, jeff!

      Also, Ron DeSantis — or more like #DeathSantis — is still jealous because Andrew Cuomo handled coronavirus so much more effectively.

      1. Don’t ever change.

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    2. Why would you assume that they don’t want that? Seems likely that at least some of them do.

      1. Are you joking?
        Team Red has been hostile to higher ed for a very long time now.

        1. They have been hostile to higher subsidized indoctrination camp, not higher education

          1. Where “indoctrination camp” means “the parts of higher education that make Team Red sad and angry”. In other words, they don’t really want higher education, they want job training programs.

            As Team Red drifts more into a lifestyle brand, they are now more explicitly appealing to the non-college-educated crowd as their base.

            1. You keep defending the left while claiming not to be a leftist.

              Team Red, as youc all them, is fine with higher education. But they also freely call out the largess, the tripling of tuition costs in real dollars, majors that are worthless, and a far leftist indoctrination that occurs on campus.

              Sorry you’re so far indoctrinated that you are ignorant to what is actually happening.

        2. As usual fatty is wrong once again.

        3. All of them?

          I don’t think the hostility is to higher ed as a concept, just as it is currently implemented. And they have a lot of good points. There are lots of problems with the US higher education system. One of which is a significant lack of ideological diversity at most elite schools.

        4. You have an aggressively subsidized industry that does little to justify it’s subsidy and does everything to impose an orthodoxy on its users that’s contrary to any sort of libertarian/conservative philosophy and you wonder why there’s a large portion of the population that’s hostile to it?

          1. You have an aggressively subsidized industry that does little to justify it’s subsidy

            except that US Higher Ed is the envy of the world in terms of research productivity, foreign students around the world clamor to get in to US universities,

            and does everything to impose an orthodoxy on its users

            such as imposing an “orthodoxy” of obtaining a well-rounded liberal (small-l) education

            that’s contrary to any sort of libertarian/conservative philosophy

            such as critical thinking, problem solving, and appreciation of different cultures… oh wait that’s not hostile to libertarian philosophy after all

            and you wonder why there’s a large portion of the population that’s hostile to it?

            Oh I don’t wonder at all.

            1. Cannot imagine why people think you’re a lefty

              1. Hes a marxist. His main arguments are based in critical theory.

              2. Sure, it’s only “lefties” who defend the value of a liberal education. Idiot.

                1. You’re not defending the value of a liberal education though.

                2. That you refer to it as an “Education” is kinda funny.

    3. No, this is where you continue to pretend to be a Libertarian while defending authoritarian left wing indoctrination.

    4. This is where we have yet further proof that you’re an idiot who intentionally chooses not to read primary sources and instead will remain repeating the democratic narrative.

    5. No, this is where we pretend to give a shit about your posts prior to clicking the mute button.

    6. If you’re going to be such a raging hate filled cunt, at least own up to the fact that you hate anything even remotely conservative or right quadrant libertarian.

  2. ” Intellectual Diversity Survey Is Good”

    Unfortunately the left has exploited the concept of diversity to include state-mandated diversity.
    As a result many conservatives now oppose diversity as a socialist / left-wing concept which probably explains opposition to the law.

    Historically , state-mandated integration based upon race was considered good despite the fact that the idea was racist in itself but explained as anti-racist.

  3. Let us make no mistake. The bill is for the protection of students from the ideologically driven mania of professors, administrations, and activists.

    As are the bans on teaching CRT and the creation of a civics/social studies curriculum that lays out the horrors of Nazism’s older, eviler twin, Leftism.

    1. In order to protect the children, it is important to ban scary ideas and indoctrinate them into the ‘proper’ way of viewing history. Got it.

      1. The challenge in teaching history is the selection of the facts to present. What shouldn’t be a challenge is having teachers not tell students what conclusions they should have.

      2. No need to tell them what to think. Just teach what actually happened under communism. A lot of kids get to college these days knowing very little about the horrors and atrocities done by the communist regimes of the 20th century. As long as there are public schools, the state has a say in what gets taught. This seems like a pretty easy one to defend. There is no ambiguity tolerated in teaching about the evils of Nazism. Communism deserves nothing different.

      3. We should at least teach students sufficient history to see what has happened under communist regimes. You can’t divorce the outcome from the ideology because the horrible things that have happened under communism are direct results of communism’s inherent problems.

        1. To be fair, teachers should also explain all the good things that happened because of communism. It just isn’t going to take nearly as long.

          1. About as long as an awkward pause, I imagine.

            1. Germany and Russia saw huge advancements in technology under socialism/communism.

              The greatest wonders of the world were built under totalitarian regimes. Landing a man on the moon was a huge state project owned by the US citizens.

              Communism forces all resources into a cooperative state with no competition. It also diminishes excellence over time and erodes national wealth.

              1. Even in our own country, the technological advances of the industrial era had a huge helping hand from a progressive era government and, even earlier, the close relationship between railroad moguls and government made the transcontinental possible by government involvement limiting competition.

      4. In order to protect students, it is important to remove professors and administrations ability to punish them for having alternate political views

        FTFY

        In order to teach students, it is important to have accurate and non-ideological ways of viewing history. Got it.

        And that.

        1. In order to protect students, it is important to remove professors and administrations ability to punish them for having alternate political views

          So, like Nazism and CRT?

          1. In order to protect students, it is important to remove professors and administrations ability to punish them for having alternate political views

            So, like Nazism and CRT?

            READ what I said. The point of this is to protect students from vindicative ideologically driven professors and administrations.

            No ideological pre-bias is needed. NO professor or administrator, no matter their leanings, should punish students for having different leanings.

            As a leftist, though, all you can see is how this limits your ability to indoctrinate.

      5. Perhaps the schools should refrain from teaching collective identity and racial essentialism? Just maybe?

        1. Perhaps legislators should trust the judgment of the professionals that they hire to do a professional job in their fields of expertise?

          1. Perhaps legislators shouldn’t hire them in the first place if they aren’t capable of judging their performance.

          2. LOL. Jeff things it is the legislatures that hire individual teachers. Hilarious.

          3. So you are for eliminating government run schools?

            1. Yes. Are you?

              1. You just defended their funding above retard.

      6. When did you decide to drop the visage and go full ignorant lefty? The sophistry you once pursued was too tiring for you?

      7. An accurate description of your team’s MO. Good job.

      8. Goddamn son.

  4. There may be a certain hypocrisy to banning Critical Race Theory from discussion in public schools

    Stop it Shack. The shitty Times reporting here is just like the shitty Reason reporting on the anti-CRT bills. Let’s address those bills in accordance to what they actually do. Not what their detractors say they do.

    1. He started off strong out of the gate but came up short in the last few furlongs.

    2. Yup. I just read all of the NH bill. No mention of CRT and I cannot imagine how anyone not already possessed by that ideology or other racist ideologies could read it and see anything to object to.

    3. I haven’t seen any of these CRT bills forbidding the *discussion* of Critical Race Theory – what I’ve seen are bans on teaching racist doctrines as true.

      The schools can teach *about* racist doctrine, eg, the rise of Hitler or the KKK, just so long as they *don’t* say, “now kids, that Hitler fella had some good ideas” or “the Klan redeemed the South from the race-mixers.”

    4. It’s not hypocritical to ban schools from teaching kids how to be racist. That’s what CRT is.

      1. It’s not hypocritical to ban schools from teaching kids how to be racist. That’s what CRT is.

        Sigh. Once again. This is CRT:

        https://www.americanbar.org/groups/crsj/publications/human_rights_magazine_home/civil-rights-reimagining-policing/a-lesson-on-critical-race-theory/

        It is not “how to be racist”.

        1. This article is a classic example of demonstrating everything wrong with CRT and it’s application. I don’t have time to fisk it, but let’s start with this:

          CRT does not define racism in the traditional manner as solely the consequence of discrete irrational bad acts perpetrated by individuals

          Right. So it re-defines “racism” from it’s classic meaning. Fine…two can play that game.

          What most non-CRT thinking people mean today when they say “racist” is not limited to bad acts. Rather, its acts determined based on the race of the individual being acted on.

          And CRT 100% fits that definition. Because it defines everything through the lens of race. And it thus teaches people to see race first, and then consequences of race second.

          1. Okay then. So let me ask a question:

            Suppose someone made the following suggestion: “Because Blacks have historically been disadvantaged in this country, I would encourage you, voluntarily, if all else equal, to patronize a Black-owned business for your shopping needs.”

            Do you consider this request to be racist?

            Do you consider this request to be wrong?

            1. You should probably change your moniker to chemjeff radical collectivist.

              Blacks, as a group, have historically been discriminated against.

              An individual black person who owns a store in, say, Minneapolis, has probably never been discriminated against based on race, is very likely to have no systematic disadvantages over his white neighbor, and is also possibly not even related to anyone who has ever been discriminated against. In fact, he most likely has a load of systematic advantages over his white neighbor, in the form of small business grants and loans that preferentially treat black people. The owner could be David Steward or Oprah.

              Moving from the first factual point to the second is a logical failure. It’s collectivism, not individualism.

              Yes, choosing to shop somewhere based on the color of someone’s skin is the textbook definition of racism and is wrong.

              1. So is it your argument, then, that *any* decision in which race is a consideration in that decision, is racist and also wrong?

                Let us suppose I want to conduct a study as to what it is like to be a Black man in America today. As you might expect I would probably want to interview many Black men on their experiences so that I could have an accurate understanding. But that would be selecting interview candidates based on race, and that would be not just racist, but also wrong in your view. Is that correct?

                1. None of the legislation stops you from doing that fatty.

                2. You must be trying to purposefully be this ignorant. You posit a study based on race in order to draw a direct contrast to other decisions with nothing to do with race so you can call it all the same. No you stupid fuck, your study has race as central to the entire purpose so racial selection is fine. The elevation of race to a primary concern when it is otherwise irrelevant or only minimally is fucking racism. That you’re too stupid to understand this is on you, not the rest of the world.

                  1. You posit a study based on race in order to draw a direct contrast to other decisions with nothing to do with race so you can call it all the same.

                    I’m not saying “it’s all the same”. I’m trying to clarify the argument and have a meaningful dialogue. Something that you are deliberately trying to impede.

                    The elevation of race to a primary concern when it is otherwise irrelevant or only minimally is fucking racism.

                    Who decides whether a concern about race is “irrelevant or only minimally”?

                    If a person were to be opposed to the drug war because that person notes that people of color are disproportionately incarcerated on drug crimes (which is true) and this person wants to end the drug war *for that reason*, is that racist? Is it wrong?

                    1. Lol. And he retreats into the argument you just misunderstood his clearly worded argument.

                3. A study about what it’s like to be a black man? That’s not a “study” by any definition of the word, that’s a biography. It’d have no scientific value.

                  It does continue to demonstrate why you should change your name though. You see, you seem to think interviewing a bunch of black people could give any kind of useful information about a collective group. No, it will give you subjective opinions of a few members of that group.

                  Make the answers quantifiable or fixed choice, and follow all the rules of good sample selection (avoiding sample bias), and you may be able to make some statistically sound inferences about the population, but your hypothetical only serves to highlight your inability (?) to differentiate between individuals and groups.

                  Yes, it is racist to choose interview candidates because of the color of their skin. Again, it’s the literal definition of racism.

                  Yes, it’s wrong to do it. You’re excluding possible candidates based on an immutable characteristic, and implicitly giving credence to the idea that the characteristic adds or decreases that individual’s value. In this case, it’s that very characteristic that you’re studying, so the harm is probably minimized, but still present.

                4. Jeff — If you did such a “study”, it would not be very scientific. Suppose you find that black people report that outcome X happens y% of the time. Is that because they are black? You could not tell because you did not also interview people who are not black. It is only if you find that z% of not black report X, and if z% is different from y% in a statistical sense can you make any conclusion about X. And even then, you need to ask if X were something that people had personal control over, say by doing act W, versus being innate. If the former, then you need to find why there is difference in the choice of W. Thus, the premise of your “study” is purely idiotic. But you knew that, right?

            2. So, if all else is equal, make a judgment based on race. Yeah, that’s not racist at all.

              1. According to MP’s definition, yes, that would be racist. But would it be wrong, in your view?

                1. Basing decisions solely on race? Yeah, that’s wrong. Sorry you weren’t taught that growing up.

            3. Do pimps and drug dealers count?

            4. Yes to both. If you making decisions based on race, you’re perpetuating (reifying) the concept of race. You are making a choice not based on the content of their character but on the color of their skin. You are making a bad choice. You are not a racist in the the classic sense of making a negative choice based on race. But you are most certainly race centered and are doing nothing to achieve race neutrality. In fact, you’re helping perpetuate race consciousness. And that is a very bad thing.

              Capital B is also a very bad thing.

              Mind you, I have zero moral objection to class based choices that refocus private transactions on less advantages individuals.

              1. See my example above.

                Let us suppose I want to conduct a study as to what it is like to be a Black man in America today. As you might expect I would probably want to interview many Black men on their experiences so that I could have an accurate understanding. But that would be selecting interview candidates based on race, and that would be not just racist, but also wrong in your view. Is that correct?

                1. It’s not morally wrong to study the idea of race or how that idea is applied sociologically. It’s simply wrong to determine how your closing to treat a person simply based on pigmentation.

                  That being said, the fundamental problem with studying blackness is defining it.

                2. Race is a concept. It is an idea. It’s an idea that has had a substantive impact on human history. And continues to.

                  But there isn’t a single redeeming thing about it. It’s awful. Studying it is not the same as incorporating it

                  1. I don’t think that is quite right. Race is a part of one’s identity. It is neither good nor bad in and of itself. Like class, or gender, or sexual orientation, or marital status, or age, or height, or any other property that makes up one’s identity. The real problem is the *bigotry* associated with race. That is what can make it toxic.

        2. Wait, you’re defending CRT?! That’s hysterical.

          1. I am providing an authoritative definition of CRT.

            The term ‘CRT’ has been so muddied in the recent past.

            1. American Bar is not an authoritative source for CRT. They did not invent CRT. They do not develop the literature of CRT. You chose them because then you can lie about what CRT is.

              You continue to ignore primary sources, CRT advocate statements, and actual books on CRT and push this lying description of CRT written by leftists to try to lie to the general public.

              1. Read that ABA document. It’s not lying about CRT at all. It’s all right out there in it’s full race baiting grossness.

                And the ABA has bought into it.

                This is why CRT is evil and needs to be forcefully expunged.

                1. They are still not an autboritativr source. They are the source he chooses because they chose to put lipstick on the marxist pig.

                  He has been given primary sources dozens of times showing examples of CRT on the classroom.

                  1. There’s no lipstick on it. It’s 100% pure awful CRT.

            2. No you’re proving you’re an idiot and appologist for racists.

              1. I’m having a dialogue.

                It is amusing how quickly Team Red has co-opted Team Blue’s technique to carelessly throw around the accusation of RACIST RACIST RACIST to try to shut down any debate concerning race that makes them sad and angry.

                1. No, you’re actually a racist. Your dialog is yo use race as a determining factor in choice making.

                  Are you even aware of your own arguments dumbass?

                2. It’s amusing how anyone thst opposed you on something is automatically team red.

                  But then, you wouldn’t be Jeff the normal collectivist if you didn’t do that on a daily basis.

        3. You really are intentionally ignorant. You can be shown dozens and dozens of primary sources that show you to be lying and ill informed… yet you persist.

          Is ignorance your favorite form of cake or something?

  5. I don’t know. You argue this is innocuous, but this legislation is creepy to me.

    1. Creepy to not teach racism, ok then.

      1. Um, I didn’t say anything about not teaching racism. Do you generally resort to strawman arguments out of the gate, or is this new for you?

        What’s creepy is the state demanding thought polling for public institutions for undisclosed uses.

        1. The legislation doesn’t “demand thought polling.”

          1. Yeah, yeah it does.

    2. It is grist for the mill of another salvo in Team Red’s culture war.

      1. Eh, I get the idea behind it since colleges have become team blue, no free speech zones. But this just doesn’t feel like the way to confront it.

      2. Is “Team Red’s culture war” the one where Democrats are literally measuring forehead height, nose width and skin tone, and determining which person is superior, and which is inferior?

    3. Read the actual legislation, not what Twitter and most of the media is saying about it. It is pretty innocuous.

      1. I know it’s pretty innocuous, but that’s where this creepy crap starts. How about we stop with kicking snowballs down hills.

  6. It is funny how CRT pushers have to keep changing what CRT is in order to try and convince people that it’s not bad. It’s this amorphous, progressive, pseud-intellectual, sophistry that has to keep changing the meaning of words and the meaning of itself so that it becomes unfalsifiable, undefinable, and unable to be challenged.

    It’s actually amazing such intellectually devoid garbage can be so accepted by so many.

  7. No, it’s not an attempt to monitor faculty and student views.

    Agreed. Let a thousand flowers bloom.

  8. If you want near proof Jeff is just a die hard liberal, here are results of polling regarding CRT.

    Richard Hanania
    @RichardHanania
    Americans reject critical race theory, 38% favorable, 58% unfavorable

    Favorable by demographic
    White men, no college: 27%
    White men, college: 34%
    White women, no college: 23%
    White women, college: 44%
    Black: 68%
    Hispanic: 44%
    Repubs: 6%
    Dems: 86%
    Ind: 20% https://docs.cdn.yougov.com/1oyiu6tamw/econTabReport.pdf

    1. My guess is that’s up dramatically from 0% from back in the 80s.

    2. Although to be fair, I separate “educated” from “credentialed” aka: college degree.

      I suspect “educated” would be in the low single digits.

    3. At this point, anyone defending CRT is an intellectually dishonest, disingenuous tribal hack. There’s a reason this crap has been around for decades and no one until our modern stupid times ever took it seriously.

  9. So far no mention of the section about students being able to record what goes on in class. Back when I was a student in the 1970s it was common to take a tape recorder into class to record actual lectures. In fact there are still tapes available on lots of subjects like math, physics, astronomy that I play when traveling in my RV.

    But just as smart phones have recorded cop/perp interaction it now is moving into the classroom at least in Florida. I have little doubt there is a massive left leaning POV from most prof at universities and this is what the polling and smartphone recordings will show.

    1. So far no mention of the section about students being able to record what goes on in class. Back when I was a student in the 1970s it was common to take a tape recorder into class to record actual lectures.

      I don’t think students have a legal right to record within a classroom, and I definitely think that they should not have such a right. A professor or teacher may choose to allow it, but it should be their choice.

      1. Oh I get it now. You’re a parody account.

        1. No, I am not a parody account. Do you have some basis in law to assert a right to record a professor’s lecture or other classroom discussions regardless of their consent? If the discussions involve other students, and not just what the professor is saying, what about the consent of those other students?

          And couldn’t a lecture be considered intellectual property? A student might be able to claim fair use to record it so they could review it later themselves or with other students in the class, but certainly not to distribute it beyond that. If you know the law on this, enlighten us.

  10. But Reason’s Robby Soave just noted a training session at the University of Oklahoma that encouraged professors to stop students from saying things others might find offensive; the trainers even claimed that free speech does not apply in college classrooms.

    Well, depends on how far you want to take your free speech. Being in a classroom isn’t being out in a fully public place. Each student is there for the purpose of learning what the class offers to be taught. When I was in class to learn physics, I would fully have expected a professor to stop a student from ranting about the need for gun control when we were in the middle of discussing the application of Maxwell’s Equations to a problem, even throwing him out if he wouldn’t oblige.

    My point is that every teacher has a responsibility to maintain proper classroom order, even when teaching adults. That can include insisting that students maintain respect for each other by not saying things that they know are going to offend others. That kind of control would be infringing on students’ Free Speech rights in contexts outside of that classroom, but it is normal inside of one.

    Even when the subject being taught in a class inherently includes topics that can be controversial and lead to ‘spirited’ discussions, maintaining respectful dialogue is a basic social skill everyone needs. There is no hard line that tells you the difference between someone exercising their right to speak their mind and someone just being an insensitive jerk, but I would think everyone would want to err on the side of not being a jerk. Maybe I’m just too nice and think other people should be nice to each other when they can be.

    1. Can’t speak to “too nice”, but you seem to be making reasonable-sounding points that can easily cover for substantial areas of propagandistic abuse by professors.

      Also, yeah, it’s good to be nice, but banning anything that might make a student uncomfortable can (and has) led to the use of “performative discomfort” as a means of shutting down certain unwelcome viewpoints. I’d actually prefer the students to be made a little uncomfortable, frankly.

      1. Also, yeah, it’s good to be nice, but banning anything that might make a student uncomfortable can (and has) led to the use of “performative discomfort” as a means of shutting down certain unwelcome viewpoints. I’d actually prefer the students to be made a little uncomfortable, frankly.

        Could you give an example of what you mean? I’m not clear on this. If you mean that students might worry about being criticized by the teacher for saying something potentially offensive, and thus remain silent instead, how does that compare to the worries of students that another student will say something harsh to them? A student that is afraid of being laughed at or harshly criticized by their peers isn’t going to participate in class, and thus loses out on important learning opportunities.

        What I quoted seems to worry about what the professors will do to limit individual students’ expression, but it ignores the role of the instructor in maintaining an atmosphere where peers will respect each other and allow for their free expression.

        One year, I was teaching an environmental science class (high school – normally I teach chemistry or physics, but that was an unusual year). I had the students read an article about the role fire in forest ecosystems. We then had a discussion about how to manage wildfires in forestry. Students were then asked to chose a side on the question of whether wildfires should always be suppressed, or whether some should be allowed to burn. A student would have their say. The next student would respond to the previous student first by having to summarize what they said, acknowledging their points. By structuring the discussion that way, a student would be more comfortable expressing their view that fire can be a necessary part of forests’ life cycles, so suppressing all fires can interrupt that cycle and cause greater problems in the future, because they could be reasonably sure that others wouldn’t be allowed to just respond with “Well, that’s dumb! Letting a fire burn would get people killed!”

        1. What I quoted seems to worry about what the professors will do to limit individual students’ expression, but it ignores the role of the instructor in maintaining an atmosphere where peers will respect each other and allow for their free expression.

          You don’t, at all, see what’s wrong with this statement, do you?

          1. I guess not. Care to enlighten me?

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  12. The natural law right to “shun ignorance” is foundational to the rights stated in the First Amendment–arguably it is the duty of every citizen in a “government of the people” to shun ignorance in order to self govern (ignorance being an impediment to intelligent law or decision making). The “Mission of the University” must be wide open search for truth. The infiltration of government into education invites political “truth” replacing the search for truth. It ought be opposed when done by Federal, State or local governmental actors. Return the tax dollars supporting same to the people and let them educate their kids. Some will err but a monolithic education systems does so routinely and produces “ignorant, compliant citizens”.

  13. As a faculty member in the Florida state system, I am not concerned about dangers to my freedom of speech. I *am* concerned about the time and energy–ultimately money–that will be sucked in to satisfy yet another useless state mandate. We as a system already devote many tens of thousands of man-hours to generating data and reports at the behest of the legislature, that serve no purpose whatsoever. They are seldom read and never acted on, and yet each of the 12 state universities has entire offices dedicated to churning them out. Every year more are added, and none are taken away.
    I remember a time when Reason used to be against unnecessary costly overregulation, and in favor of the principle that problems in State A do not always require action in State B. I miss those days.

    1. Great point. It seems a waste of effort and money which results in more government intrusion where it should not be interfering.

    2. I *am* concerned about the time and energy–ultimately money–that will be sucked in to satisfy yet another useless state mandate.

      The state mandate to waste time and money teaching Critical Racism

      Or the state mandate to NOT waste time and money indoctrinating students into being racists?

  14. I cannot see a good argument for banning any subject or topic at the university level. Academic freedom is going to produce some results we don’t like but we should not treat the university and its students as if it was middle school.

    Students can pick and choose courses and professors. Among the student body it is known which are better or worse and they can choose accordingly. They can also choose which college to attend based on reputation.

    A course in free market economics can exist alongside a course in Marxist economics. I don’t see a problem with that.

    What should be emphasized is freedom of thought and expression both by faculty and students.

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