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Florida Colleges Will Now Be Required to Survey Faculty, Students on Viewpoint Diversity

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Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida signed into law legislation that will force colleges to ask their students and faculty to disclose their political beliefs, according to the Naples Daily News.

HB 233 institutes annual campus surveys to assess the student body and staff’s ideological diversity to determine “the extent to which competing ideas and perspectives are presented.” It also seeks to uncover whether students “feel free to express beliefs and viewpoints on campus and in the classroom.”

“We obviously want our universities to be focused on critical thinking, academic rigor,” DeSantis said at a news conference at Three Oaks Middle School in Fort Myers, according to the Naples Daily News. “We do not want them as basically hotbeds for stale ideology.”

“It used to be thought that a university campus was a place where you’d be exposed to a lot of different ideas,” he added. “Unfortunately, now the norm is, these are more intellectually repressive environments.”

While the law doesn’t delve into what the state government will do with this information, DeSantis suggested budget cuts may be enforced on schools found to be “indoctrinating” students.

“That’s not worth tax dollars and that’s not something that we’re going to be supporting moving forward,” he said, according to The Hill.

Two other bills signed into law Tuesday by DeSantis addressed education. HB 5 will force Florida’s Department of Education to create a civics curriculum that will speak to the “evils” of communism and totalitarian regimes, according to the Naples Daily News.

DeSantis claimed that at some colleges, communist leaders like Che Guevara are celebrated on campuses.

“This guy was a total communist thug and yet that’s the kind of environment that you see,” he said, according to the Naples Daily News.

SB 1108 will require Florida college students to take a civics assessment, as well as a civics literacy course, before graduation. High school students will also have to take a civics assessment, which, if passed, will waive the post-secondary test, according to the Naples Daily News.

HB 233 will go into effect July 1.

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