Faculty union tells members to ignore Florida 'viewpoint diversity' surveys
In a statement sent to its members on Apr. 4, the United Faculty of Florida deemed the surveys 'unconstitutional' and have been demanding that students and faculty simply ignore them and their results.
One student said the results of the survey should not be ignored, as it is 'important that every student feels like they can voice their opinion.'
Florida college and university students and faculty were recently sent “viewpoint diversity” surveys that are aimed at exploring the ideological and political perspectives of Florida’s campuses.
In June 2021, Campus Reform reported that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed House Bill 223, which mandated the surveys.
The United Faculty of Florida (UFF) has since deemed the surveys “unconstitutional” and have been demanding that students and faculty simply ignore them and their results, the Florida Phoenix reports.
The union claims that the survey would not pass any tests of its validity, since there is no way to “ensure that the responses will reflect the demographics” of an institution.
In a statement sent to its members on Apr. 4, the UFF apparently expressed concerns that the “specificity of the survey’s demographic questions allows for targeting of faculty, particularly minority faculty, and can be used to attack tenure.”
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However, the survey promises to keep participants anonymous. “No personally identifiable information will be associated with your responses,” the email attached to the survey explains.
“This survey is anonymous and responses will only be reported at the group level, not at the individual level," the survey states, according to the Florida Phoenix.
Florida students and faculty were sent two different surveys, each with a similar section of prompts that can be responded to by choosing between the options of Strongly Agree, Agree, Neither Agree Nor Disagree, Disagree, or Strongly Disagree.
The prompts in the student survey include: “I would be concerned if most of my professors or course instructors held the same political beliefs” and “I have felt intimidated to share my ideas or political opinions because they were different from those of my professors.”
The prompts in the faculty survey reportedly include: “I rarely inject my own political ideas and beliefs into my classes” and “Students in my classes are exposed to competing arguments and multiple perspectives on a topic.”
Unlike the student survey, the faculty survey includes a question that asks them to identify their political leaning.
Solexyeh Garcia, a student at Florida State University, told Campus Reform that the results should not be ignored.
“It is important that every student feels like they can voice their opinion without being called out," Garcia said. "On the FSU campus, I feel like I have to be careful to share my views because I may say something that is ‘wrong’ or not aligned with what others think.”
[RELATED: SURVEY: Students' confidence in free speech rights, support for safe spaces plummet]
Garcia also noted that she only feels safe talking about her views when she’s with people who hold similar views.
University of Florida student David Schnoor completed the survey. He stated that he was “curious to be given an opportunity” to share his opinion on how his views have been accepted on campus.
Schnoor explained that in his experience, conservative views are typically shut down or mocked by liberals on campus.
“Even in classes, things like requiring pronouns for assignments would be something liberals would be happy to share, but I have no desire to do so," Schnoor said. "Yet, I would not risk my grade or position in the class by speaking out against this.”
Campus Reform has reached out to the UFF for comment; this article will be updated accordingly.
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