Campus Reform | Florida GOP passes legislation to tackle political bias on college campuses

Florida GOP passes legislation to tackle political bias on college campuses

Legislation in the Florida legislature would disallow universities from shielding students from certain political views.

The bill would also require all public universities to “conduct an annual assessment of the intellectual freedom and viewpoint diversity at that institution.”

A bill advancing in the Florida legislature would prohibit universities from shielding students from political views with which they disagree.

HB 233 — which states that the State Board of Education “may not shield students, faculty, or staff at Florida College System institutions from free speech protected under the First Amendment” — passed the State Senate in early April with a vote of 23 to 15.

The legislation would likewise require each Florida College System institution “to conduct an annual assessment of the intellectual freedom and viewpoint diversity at that institution.”

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“The State Board of Education shall select or create an objective, nonpartisan, and statistically valid survey to be used by each institution which considers the extent to which competing ideas and perspectives are presented and members of the college community, including students, faculty, and staff, feel free to express their beliefs and viewpoints on campus and in the classroom,” reads the bill text. 

State Rep. Spencer Roach (R-FL), who sponsored the House version of the bill, believes that the survey will help to uncover left-leaning political bias on Florida’s college campuses.

“The long term goal is to provide some guidance to policymakers on how we can ensure our universities are marketplaces for ideas, as they are intended to be,” Roach said in a statement to the Gainesville Sun.

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The bill has since been amended to state that published and unpublished research and lectures are protected by the First Amendment, while “defamatory or commercial speech” is not.

Campus Reform reached out to Rep. Roach for comment; this article will be updated accordingly.