Florida Republicans are pushing for a proposal that would require public Florida universities to survey their faculty members and students about their personal viewpoints. It was approved on Wednesday by a House panel, but Democrats are concerned about what lawmakers would do with such information.
This comes at a time when President Donald Trump has expressed the idea of signing an executive order to protect freedom of speech. Cord Byrd, a Republican Chairman of the House Higher Education & Career Readiness, explains that there are concerns about indoctrination taking place in the university system. In addition, Byrd further details that several students have relayed their experiences to him of a university environment where they don’t feel comfortable sharing their political views with the student body or professors out of fear that their grades will be affected. Byrd then concluded by asserting that that “it’s only getting worse.”
In response, Democrats are against the creation of the survey, which the bill explains would be “objective, non-partisan and statistically valid.”
Congressman Carlos Guillermo Smith, a Democrat from Orlando, disregarded the need for a survey. The Orlando Democrat commented that he is “worried that the survey itself is a predetermined assumption that our state university system is a collection of liberal institutions that are graduating young people with progressive ideals who go out into the world to promote these ideals.”
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Before the proposal makes it to the full House, it needs to pass two more House panels. And, a Senate version that was filed by Republican Education Chairman Manny Diaz Jr. has not yet been heard in any committees.
President Trump signaled earlier this year that he would be signing the executive order to protect freedom of speech on university campuses, but no updates have been given as to when he will be signing the executive order.