Many of us understand that American colleges and universities are seething hotbeds of wokeism, snowflakery, and political correctness, where conservatives who dare speak up face a fate common to the targets in the game Whac-A-Mole.
But thanks to a new survey implemented by Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis and the GOP-led Legislature, Florida parents and the public at large know where this problem is the worst.
It turns out that, according to the Intellectual Freedom and Viewpoint Diversity survey, the University of Florida took the title of “the most ideologically intolerant school,” noted the conservative website The Capitolist, which sifted through the results submitted by 18,000 students and faculty members across the 12-member State University System.
At UF, 40.9 percent of students and faculty reported being too “intimidated” by the rigid ideological climate at the school to share their personal political views.
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Immediately following UF were Florida Gulf Coast University (38.8 percent), Florida State University (36.7 percent), and the University of North Florida (36.5 percent).
UF did not lead when considering just students. FGCU and UNF were both above 33 percent feeling intimidated, while UF reported 32.6.
But it stood out shockingly for political oppression among faculty members. At UF, fully half the staff – 49.9 percent – are afraid to speak out on politics.
At the other end of the tolerance spectrum was the University of West Florida (27.7 percent), Florida A&M (22.4 percent) and, apparently the most tolerant campus, Florida Polytechnic University (15.4) percent.
Perhaps Florida Poly posted that finish because it’s focused on a STEM curriculum, which may make it by and largely immune to much of the political badgering that occurs on campuses with big liberal arts programs.
The Capitolist noted that critics of the study – including most of the liberal media in the state, which has effectively ignored it – mostly ridicule it for its relatively small sample size – even as the 18,000 respondents are nearly 10 times the number of those surveyed in the biggest political polls.
But, the website added, “While detractors may argue that the survey results are too low to provide a realistic picture of what’s really going on at the school, pollsters and data scientists say that’s not true. At best, they say, the total percentages at each school might skew in one direction or the other, but the sample sizes are large enough (significantly larger than most scientifically accurate political polls) that even if every single student and employee at all 12 schools were surveyed, UF would still almost certainly rank worse than its peers.”
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The Capitolist added that while UF wins the first prize as the most intolerant school the overall results are not good for the whole higher education system.
“The results,” said The Capitolist, “paint an alarming picture of Florida’s collegiate environment where at some schools, political diversity is frowned upon and orthodoxy is achieved through intimidation, while other schools are more encouraging and open-minded about the free expression of ideas.”
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Free Press.