In the hopes of promoting “intellectual diversity” and pushing against the “indoctrination” of students, Gov. DeSantis has signed a bill that will require students and faculty in public colleges and universities to be annually surveyed on their political ideologies in order to analyze how diverse campuses really are.
This is just a new addition to the many controversial legislations that Gov. DeSantis has signed such as the critical race theory ban in public schools. Just like any other bill, this one has many consequences and may even be foreseeing changes in the future for teachers and faculty members of these institutions.
“The bill tries to get a grasp on the student body population. It is trying to shape their beliefs disregarding the fact that everyone has their own beliefs and ideologies. The pressure that has now been set on everyone involved is immense and could hurt those who try to stand up for what they believe and will convert them into something they dislike all for the sake of their education being funded,” said Gabriel Manzo, a junior Computer Science major.
The bill does not specify what will be done with the result of these surveys but DeSantis has suggested that colleges and universities could be threatened with budget cuts if a majority of the student body has the same political beliefs or as he likes to call it, “indoctrination” of students. Teachers and faculty could be seen to be intimidated by this bill and drive away from pursuing their careers into education which would worsen the current shortage of staff in institutions.
Thus could also adversely affect the acceptance of incoming students since colleges and universities may start refusing acceptances based on their political beliefs.
This bill could be seen as a violation of the First Amendment of students and faculty since the bill could open the doors for politicians to regulate and monitor speech on campuses.
“This bill is an infringement on the privacy of, not only the students, but the faculty as well. Politicians should not jeopardize the funds of an institution based on the political ideologies of the students. Colleges and universities are institutions established for the education of the people,” said Zach Thomas a sophomore majoring in Architecture.
Gov. DeSantis claims that the bill was also pushed by concerned parents who believe that these institutions will be “indoctrinating” their children when they attend there.
“That’s not worth tax dollars and that’s not something that we’re going to be supporting moving forward,” DeSantis said at a press conference referring to his anti “indoctrination” policy.
The public is worried due to the lack of information the bill contains.
It is vague and contains almost no explanation on what the consequences will be to those institutions who do not follow the law or even facts that could back this law. There is also no specification on what DeSantis believes is the right political ideologies for institutions to have.
A flaw that the bill has is that it will be impossible to ensure that students, faculty and even the colleges and universities will be honest with the answers written in the surveys. This means that they most likely answer to satisfy the requirements instead of being truthful without being scared.
The Republican party is backing up Gov. DeSantis in all the bills that he has signed lately and there are talks among the party for these same or similar bills to be implemented in other Republican states. This sudden wave of new bills being implemented is part of DeSantis’s plan to appeal more to the conservative population in hopes to get reelected, and even maybe run as a presidential candidate in the year 2024.
Sebastian Bolivar, a senior major in Engineering, says “A side that people have not realized is the fact that these surveys could infringe on the privacy of the people’s population. When we vote, our votes are anonymous and can’t be tracked. But with this survey, the state has a way of knowing who voted for each party. Also, the honesty in these surveys will be possibly low since the population will be scared of opposing the state”.
Gov. DeSantis seems to be a trending topic in Florida thanks to all of these bills that he is now signing. For now, all we can do is wait to see how these bills settle in and to see how DeSantis’s “anti-indoctrination” policies affect the education of the population.