Federal judge considers constitutionality of campus survey requirements

Published: Jan. 9, 2023 at 4:30 PM EST
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCJB) - Nearly two years after the measure passed, a federal judge is considering the constitutionality of a state law that requires surveys on state college and university campuses about intellectual freedom and viewpoint diversity.

The law also includes other changes that opponents argue violate first amendment rights.

The trial started Monday morning, in a challenge by the United Faculty of Florida and other plaintiffs to a 2021 law approved by the legislature and Governor Ron DeSantis.

Under the law, annual surveys start this Spring about intellectual freedom and viewpoint diversity at colleges and universities.

The law also says schools may not shield students and faculty members from ideas and opinions they may find uncomfortable, unwelcome, disagreeable or offensive.

“Our campuses have always been home to diverse viewpoints. That’s the point” said State Rep. Anna Eskamani. “What we are seeing now is an intentional effort by the DeSantis administration to censor any speech that isn’t speech that they like.”

Attorneys for the state argue the law does not restrict any speech.

They say the law does not require students and faculty members to participate in the surveys and does not require anyone to register their political beliefs.

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