Florida’s ‘intellectual freedom’ law faces constitutional challenge
A faculty union, professors and students are challenging the constitutionality of a new Florida law that requires conducting surveys on state college and university campuses about “intellectual freedom and viewpoint diversity” and includes other changes that opponents contend violate First Amendment rights.
The United Faculty of Florida on Wednesday joined the lawsuit, which was filed last month in federal court in Tallahassee. The lawsuit argues, in part, that the measure (HB 233) was approved by Gov. Ron DeSantis and Republican lawmakers “to target and chill certain viewpoints with which its proponents disagree.”
“While it may purport to protect and advance intellectual freedom and viewpoint diversity on Florida’s public college and university campuses, its reality – and its intention – is the exact opposite,” the lawsuit said. “Without regard for the First Amendment, the law permits the state to collect the private political beliefs of students and compels faculty both to espouse and promote views they do not share and carefully consider whether and how to discuss views that they do.”