New bill would allow students to record lectures without permission
A new bill ready to be signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis would allow college students to record everything their professors say without permission, but faculty members are fighting back.
Supporters of the bill say it would make it easier for students to launch free speech complaints, as it would essentially go around Florida’s two-party consent law. That, however, is the basis of the complaints against the bill, too.
“With so many videos being manipulated now, audio and video manipulation… with so much ability to post anonymously online, an awful lot of damage can be done to a person,” said Karen Morian, president of United Faculty of Florida.
Besides violating people’s privacy, Morian believes the bill could actually discourage students from participating in class.
“Are we gonna, as faculty or as graduate assistants, have to film our classes in their entirety?” Morian said. “To have an unedited version for our own defense? How is that going to encourage anyone to speak up and speak out in class? It’s hard enough to engage students, in this political climate, in any kind of discussion, and I’d hate to quell that development when you watch people work through a problem.”
Rep. Spencer Roach, of North Fort Myers, says he authored this bill to protect free speech and ensure students are able to express their ideas. But you would not be able to post a recorded lecture on the internet, only use it as part of a complaint to the university or in court. If a professor or teacher, then, were to say something a student considers “out of line” politically, racially, etc. or if they prohibited a student from expressing an opposing opinion, the student would be allowed to record for evidence.
“Everyone’s pretty connected with social media, and it’s hard not to share those types of things, especially the day we’re in now,” said Florida Gulf Coast University freshman Dominique Berrette. “I do think that’s a good way to uphold the proof.”
“I think it’s a great idea,” said FGCU sophomore Amanda Finn. “It’s allowing people to go and protect themselves, I guess you can say. I mean, of course, permission is required—it is something that’s against privacy.”
If the video is posted online without someone’s consent, the poster can face a fine of up to $200,000. There’s no timeline yet as to when the governor is expected to sign the bill into law.