ORLANDO, Fla. (FOX 35 Orlando) - A House bill in Florida proposes a survey for University students and faculty discussing personal beliefs.
HB 839, which was approved by a house panel Wednesday, contains a provision in which the Board of Governors would create a survey to determine whether Florida Universities have diversity of thought, and if students and faculty feel comfortable expressing those thoughts.
At Wednesday’s House Higher Education & Career Readiness meeting, Chairman Cord Byrd, R-Neptune Beach, said conservative students reached out to him with concerns about “indoctrination.”
“There is a concern there’s more indoctrination than education taking place,” he said. “I think it’s only getting worse. There’s a lawsuit against the university of Florida for discrimination against conservative students.”
Representative Ray Rodrigues, R-Estero, who sponsored the bill, said the survey would encompass all subjects taught at universities, such as psychology, economics, and politics. He has not discussed potential questions.
“Do teachers feel the freedom to teach in their classroom according to their conscious? Or are they led to teach in one form or another by either administration or faculty leadership?” He questioned. “I think when you look at the investment we’re making in higher education, it’s substantial and we need to make sure our students are getting the absolute best education they can receive.”
Democratic Orlando Representative Carlos Guillermo Smith called the survey a waste of resources, because he does not believe the University System is repressing people’s view.
“Our universities are constantly teaching about the world, about other cultures, about other religions I don’t really understand the need for the survey,” he said. “Not too long ago in 2017, the University of Florida hosted a white supremacist named Richard Spencer, who was the speaker at one of their auditoriums. If that’s not intellectual diversity, I don’t know what is.”
Smith also expressed concern over what would happen with the information gathered from the surveys.
“Are they going to start firing liberal or progressive teachers, because they don’t feel they have an appropriative conservative/liberal professor balance at a particular university? I mean what is the end game here?”
Rodrigues said it would be up to law makers to determine what actions to take based on the survey’s results. He said he would not be part of that process because he is term limited.