Foes Ask Judge to Block 'Intellectual Freedom' Surveys

Union For Liberal Professors At Florida Colleges Urge Members To Not Respond To State Survey

Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis and GOP lawmakers last week won a significant victory over higher education brainwashers who pose as college professors.

In a rare decision that favored conservatives, Tallahassee-based U.S. District Judge Mark Walker allowed the state to distribute questionnaires that will be used to rate “intellectual freedom and viewpoint diversity” on the state’s college campuses. Under state law, the surveys will be sent to students, faculty, and staff.

Liberal critics argued in a lawsuit challenging the law – and the surveys – that they violate the First Amendment’s free speech protections. GOP lawmakers and the administration would sue the results to target liberals, they added.

Yet Walker, a Barack Obama appointee, noted “there is virtually no legal precedent for ‘any instance of any court’ striking down an anonymous, voluntary survey,” the Miami Herald reported. Walker asserted the Legislature did not need a survey if it wanted to sanitize college campuses.

Accordingly, after losing that round, the union opted for its next best option: not participating.

In an email to its 8,500 members Monday, union President Andrew Gothard said, “Florida’s government has no right to know the thoughts, feelings, or political or religious beliefs of anyone, including the higher education community. Privacy is the bedrock of democracy and a safeguard against autocratic control.”

“Ignoring this survey is an act that protects individuals of all political persuasions, now and into the future. This survey would not pass ‘validity tests’ in any institutional review process, as there is no way to ensure that responses will reflect the demographics of the institution. It is not worthy of time away from our teaching and research.”

Continuing, Gothard said, “Many of the survey’s questions are leading in nature and imply that there is a problem of viewpoint fairness on our campuses already — this is a conclusion searching for evidence, rather than the other way around.”

“Surveillance has no place in Florida’s higher education system,” Gothard added, while expressing concern for the “basic rights of all Floridians” to be free of “intimidation from the political party currently in power.”

“The survey will have a chilling effect on freedom of speech and freedom of association on campus because faculty, staff, and students will be wondering whether their words and deeds will be reported to those in power.”

The profs’ unwillingness to respond likely tells us all we need to know about their ideology, and why they don’t want it reported. “Viewpoint diversity” is really the only diversity they hate. 

 Of course, the irony is that conservative students feel that “chilling effect” every day as they walk on the eggshells strewn across woke campuses around the state.

For example, the conservative website The College Fix noted in October 2020 that nearly 89 percent of Florida college and university faculty members who made campaign contributions during that election cycle gave to Democrats.

“Faculty members at seven of Florida’s largest universities gave nearly $1.1 million to Democratic federal candidates during the current election cycle, while Republican candidates only collected $133,000,” The Fix reported. “The data include lecturers, faculty, professors, administrators, librarians and other employees.

“Of those contributions, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden collected $283,299, while Republican Donald Trump raised only $51,240.”

Remember it was these tolerant lefties at the University of Florida who condoned the Student Government Association impeaching its president because he invited Donald Trump Jr. to give a speech on campus.

This would be the same UF that was once sued by a conservative campus organization after UF denied the group proceeds from student activity fees to bring right-leaning speakers on campus.

This also would be the UF that in 2021, according to the conservative group Campus Reform, suspended three conservative student groups for hosting a cookout on public grounds and not requiring masks when the state had no mask mandate.

We cite UF because it is the state’s flagship university. But it is not alone.

While the surveys were issued to campuses this week, Judge Walker on Tuesday reverted to form. He opted not to dismiss the lawsuit challenging the statute brought by the union representing professors.

After that ruling, and even though the survey is anonymous, the union in a press release called for its members and the “higher education community” to boycott the questionnaire.

This is “in order to protect fundamental freedoms on Florida’s university and college campuses,” the union said.

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