Florida Governor Ron DeSantis speaks to guests at the Republican Jewish Coalition Annual Leadership Meeting

What College Degrees WOULDN’T Be Banned Under This New Proposed Florida Bill?

It’s basically a ban on thinking. That makes sense, considering no thought went into this bill whatsoever.

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If you thought Florida’s “Stop Woke” and “Don’t Say Gay” bills were ugly enough, prepare to be unpleasantly surprised. There’s a new bill working its way through the legislative bowels of the Sunshine State that may soon be shat out all over Ron DeSantis’ desk, where he will sign it into a shitty law. In an effort to combat the “woke activism” that DeSantis believes to be plaguing Floridian education (there’s an oxymoron), DeSantis has proposed a slew of changes to the system.

This bill in particular will gut diversity and inclusivity funding all across higher education institutions, and disallow students from pursuing majors in fields related to race or gender. How exactly will it do that? Let’s get into the gory details.

The bill will limit classroom discussion … of basically everything

There is an unofficial list of “no-no words” that teachers will not be allowed to discuss with students. One of those terms is “critical race theory” which the bill does not define. The bill however does say that anything that “teaches identity politics” will be barred from classroom discussion. How exactly are lawmakers defining “identity politics”? We have no idea about that either.

Educators who teach philosophy, art, history, humanities, sociology, or literature would be forced to guess what exactly constitutes “identity politics”, and considering every one of these courses deals with questions about identity that will be an impossible ordeal. With such loose language, lawmakers and school administrators could theoretically classify anything that comes up in those courses as falling under the category of “identity politics”. Descartes’ statement “I think therefore I am” could be considering “identity politics” for all we know. This legislation is anti-educational as it seeks to combat teachers from teaching certain topics that don’t fall squarely into conservative beliefs. It’s dystopian. Educational brainwashing. It’s possible that the bill will end up being contested at the federal level for violating the First Amendment rights of educators and students alike. After all, the “Stop Woke” act is currently in legal hot water for doing the same thing.

The bill will also attempt to rewrite “American history” and would bar teachers from categorizing our nation as anything but “a new nation based on universal principles stated in the Declaration of Independence.” What does that even mean? The bill doesn’t say.

And under such language, how are we to discuss the country before colonialism when it belonged to Native Americans? What about slavery? Women’s suffrage? What about all the people who were denied the rights granted by those “universal principles”? How are we supposed to talk about that? Short answer: we don’t.

The vaguest language of all that the bill features is its ban on “unproven, theoretical, or exploratory content” in general education courses. THAT IS LITERALLY ALL SCIENCE IS. The THEORY of relativity. The THEORY of gravity. Atomic THEORY. As for “unproven” and “exploratory” content, that is HOW SCIENTISTS MAKE DISCOVERIES. BY EXPLORING THE UNPROVEN. If every university followed this bill to the letter, MIT might as well shutter its doors. A bill allowing officials to ban professors from discussing theories in classrooms is once again anti-educational and should be rejected for that stipulation alone. It’s anti-science. Anti-teacher. Anti-student. And totally unconstitutional.

As I mentioned before, the bill would prevent students from majoring or minoring in anything that “engenders beliefs in the concepts defined” in the “Stop Woke” act. Gender Studies. Racial Justice. Intersectionality. All of these and more would be banned outright. There is no reality where this bill holds up in federal court. It is so flagrantly unconstitutional that it boggles the mind. After all, the Supreme Court already has a precedent against such bans. It’s a no-brainer—but that’s assuming the asshats who drafted this bill had brains to begin with.

It gets worse

The bill will limit discussion OUTSIDE of classrooms as well. We’re really just ripping the First Amendment to shreds at this point.

The bill would limit any “services” along with “any funds, regardless of source” that are in support of programs or organizations that “espouse diversity, equity, and inclusion or Critical Race Theory rhetoric.” It’s chilling that “diversity,” “equity,” and “inclusion” have become taboo terms for Republican lawmakers and paints a terrifying picture of the future that they envision for America. Needless to say, if these organizations are student-run and student-funded, then this bill would be in direct violation of the student’s First Amendment rights of expression. In response, college students have already begun protesting. Students at Florida State University, Florida A&M University, and Tallahassee Community College organized a statewide walkout in order to publicly oppose the DeSantis administration’s efforts.

Finally, the bill will impose limits on tenure and hiring

The bill will allow university presidents and trustee boards to “review” a professor’s tenure “at any time with cause” and “at the request of its chair, review any faculty member’s tenure status” WITHOUT cause. That means any DeSantis crony placed in charge of an institution could conceivably revoke the tenure of a professor for any reason at all.

The language has no doubt been added to the bill to give it “teeth” and dole out consequences to any educator who stands against it. The bill will also require all faculty hiring to be done by the university’s president or board of trustees. Obviously, this places academic freedom in even greater danger.

Allowing individuals greater power over educational institutions also allows those individuals to silence voices that they deem unacceptable within those institutions. Again, more academic brainwashing. And considering that people who identify as liberal tend to be college educated, the bill could easily be seen as an attempt to eradicate the spread of leftist ideas across the state of Florida. At its core, this bill is an attempt to win a victory in a national culture war. It is not an attempt to “improve” higher education as supporters of the bill claim, it is an attempt to destroy it outright.

(featured image: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

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Jack Doyle
Jack Doyle (they/them) is actually nine choirs of biblically accurate angels crammed into one pair of $10 overalls. They have been writing articles for nerds on the internet for less than a year now. They really like anime. Like... REALLY like it. Like you know those annoying little kids that will only eat hotdogs and chicken fingers? They're like that... but with anime. It's starting to get sad.