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DeSantis issues “viewpoint diversity” survey stirring controversy among university students and faculty

Published: Apr. 5, 2022 at 11:39 PM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - The Florida Board of Governors sent a survey to all students and faculty in higher education, and it’s drawing major controversy.

The “Intellectual Freedom and Viewpoint Diversity” survey is a result of a law that passed in last year’s legislative session. The aim is to ensure all political viewpoints have equal representation in the classroom.

“If our colleges and universities are so biased, why is it that parents all over the world are fighting to get their kids into our universities? Answer me that, Governor Ron DeSantis,” said Paul Ortiz, President of UF’s chapter of United Faculty of Florida.

Ortiz said if the state wanted to create a more equal system, they’d focus on all types of discrimination.

“But the Tallahassee bureaucrats have only mentioned their fear that conservatives are being discriminated against,” he said. “They made it clear they don’t care if liberals are being discriminated against.”

One of the statements on the survey says, “I have felt intimidated to share my ideas or political opinions because they were different from those of my professors.”

Students can respond with “strongly agree,” “agree,” “neither agree nor disagree,” “disagree,” or “strongly disagree.”

Another asks students to choose their political affiliation.

They can only choose between “liberal,” “conservative,” or “other.”

“Both sides need to be represented,” said Jackson Rowell, UF student. “Right now in universities, there is much more of a leftist political field going on everywhere.”

Rowell said he feels this survey was put out for a reason and he plans to fill it out, but not every student feels the same.

“I am refusing to take this survey just because I don’t feel like participating in DeSantis’ political games,” said Brian Marra, Political Director of UF College Democrats. “I’m sure the questions are quite politically motivated.”

University students are not required to fill out the survey.

Those who do will remain anonymous.

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