The Volokh Conspiracy

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Academic Freedom

What is at Stake in Florida Higher Ed Reform Bill?

A poorly drafted and conceptually ambitious upending of norms of state university independence


Over in Chronicle of Higher Education, I have a new piece examining HB 999 in the Florida legislature and its implications for the future of Republican politics around higher education.

From the piece:

State universities have never been perfectly independent from political pressure. They are ultimately creatures of the state and dependent on the good graces of political leaders. But American universities have long enjoyed a significant degree of freedom from political meddling in academic affairs, and that insulation from politics has allowed public universities to become intellectual powerhouses.

That long-lived arrangement may be nearing an end in many red states. It is hard to know where this newfound willingness to micromanage state universities will lead, but it would be a radical departure from the past. If conservatives are concerned that the intellectual environment at universities has become too stifling, this program of reform may provide a cure that is at least as bad as the disease.

Read the whole thing here.