Panama City, FL –
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (The News Service of Florida) – Colleges and universities in Florida may be required to publish campus-wide surveys assessing “intellectual freedom and diversity of viewpoints” under measure passed Wednesday by the Senate.
The bill (HB 233) had already been approved by the House, which means it is now ready to be handed over to Governor Ron DeSantis. If he signs it, the bill would come into effect in July. A spokesperson for DeSantis did not respond to whether he will sign the bill. Without any debate, the Republican-controlled Senate passed the bill in a 23-15 vote, with Senator Jennifer Bradley, R-Fleming Island, the only GOP lawmaker voting against.
The House passed the bill in a vote of 77 to 42 on March 18. The measure would require the board of governors of the state university system and the National Board of Education to create an “objective, non-partisan and statistically valid survey.”
Students, faculty and school staff would receive the surveys and the resulting data would be released by the governing bodies that oversee colleges and universities. In a debate last month, House godfather Spencer Roach of R-North Fort Myers said future legislatures could “use this data as a basis for making a political decision.”
The proposal would also prevent colleges and universities from “protecting” students, faculty and staff from any kind of speech. In addition, schools could not prohibit any person or group from speaking on campus.
Under the bill, students could also record audio or video recordings of lectures for educational purposes, as part of complaints against institutions or legal proceedings. This part of the bill met with objections from the United Faculty of Florida, citing intellectual property concerns.
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