TALLAHASSEE — Republicans on the House Choice and Innovation Committee voted along party lines Tuesday to pass a bill that aims to stamp out “leftist totalitarianism” by “dictator professors” in the classrooms of Florida’s universities.This is such a phenomenally bad idea it hardly requires refutation. The prospect of lawyers and judges scrutinizing curricula and syllabi is almost too awful to contemplate. But I can’t resist making one simple response: Viewpoint diversity does not require coverage of all viewpoints within each classroom or course, any more than racial diversity requires that every professor be multi-racial, or gender diversity requires that every professor be a hermaphrodite.
The bill has two more committees to pass before it can be considered by the full House. [Whew! – GW]
According to a legislative staff analysis of the bill, the law would give students who think their beliefs are not being respected legal standing to sue professors and universities.
Students who believe their professor is singling them out for “public ridicule” – for instance, when professors use the Socratic method to force students to explain their theories in class – would also be given the right to sue.
“Some professors say, ‘Evolution is a fact. I don’t want to hear about Intelligent Design (a creationist theory), and if you don’t like it, there’s the door,’” Baxley said, citing one example when he thought a student should sue. [emphasis added]
(And just for the record: I also oppose affirmative action for conservatives as a means of promoting viewpoint diversity. Here’s what I’ve said before on the subject.)
Thanks to my friend Ravi for the pointer.