Applause for Florida Higher Education Bill

National Association of Scholars

The National Association of Scholars (NAS) and the Civics Alliance are delighted that Florida’s legislature has just passed H.B. 931. H.B. 931, inspired by Stanley Kurtz’s model Campus Intellectual Diversity Act and End Political Litmus Tests in Education Act, would ban diversity statements and establish Offices of Public Policy Events to promote intellectual diversity in public events at state universities. The NAS published the Campus Intellectual Diversity Act, and the Civics Alliance has drawn upon it for its own model legislation. We believe that Governor Ron DeSantis would serve the citizens of Florida well by signing this bill.

Of course the bill would also have to be enforced. We may expect Florida’s education establishment to seek to make both of these parts of the bill into dead letters. Florida’s policymakers must be vigilant in making sure that the bill, if passed, is actually put into practice. They should make sure that appointees to the Florida Board of Governors, and to positions as presidents and deans in the state universities, know that they hold their positions on condition of putting this law into effect.

We also may expect an attempt by the radical education establishment to enlist the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to say that this bill will endanger the Florida state universities’ accreditation status. Florida’s policymakers are already attempting to switch Florida away from SACSCOC, so as to prevent it from attempting further improper and politicized intrusions into Florida’s educational policy. They should not blink at such attempts to bluff them into withdrawing from this initiative. Wails for SACSCOC from Florida professors are a sign of an effective policy.

Passing H.B. 931 is a wonderful beginning—but Florida policymakers can put it into practice only by steady, follow-up oversight of Florida’s public universities. We urge them to ready themselves for this long, necessary campaign.

Photo by Adobe Stock

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