UFF Condemns Viewpoint’s Diversity Inquiry – The Oracle


Following the release of the viewpoint survey on April 4, the United Faculty of Florida publicly encouraged universities to ignore the survey and filed a lawsuit against the state of Florida. ORACLE PHOTO/ALEXANDRA URBAN

The United Faculty of Florida (UFF) released a statement on April 5 urging members of the Florida college community to ignore the Intellectual Freedom and Diversity of Views Survey that was sent by the Florida Board of Governors (BOG) on April 4.

In a list of seven concerns around the survey, which ranged from recipients’ right to privacy to biased wording, the group condemned the investigation.

“Ignoring this investigation is an act that protects individuals of all political beliefs, now and in the future,” the group said. “This survey would not pass the ‘tests of validity’ in any institutional review process, as there is no way to guarantee that the responses will reflect the demographics of the institution. It is not worth spending time away from our teaching and research.

Two slightly different surveys were sent to students and university employees, with a quick message that it would take five to 10 minutes to complete and that all submissions would be completely confidential and anonymous.

Professors and other professors were surveyed about whether they involved their personal political beliefs in the content they taught and whether they thought the university supported material covering a wide range of political ideologies.

Students were asked similar questions about whether they felt they were free to discuss their opinions on campus.

However, the UFF argued that there were not many safeguards in place to ensure that the responses will truly remain anonymous. They are also concerned that a student may submit multiple surveys due to the lack of verification of who is answering the questions.

Students, faculty and staff were also primary targets of the survey, despite the relatively smaller impact they have on campus-wide beliefs, UFF said. Trustees and other leaders, who may have greater influence on campus views, have conversely faced little pressure from the survey, according to the union.

The UFF also raised concerns that the survey was looking for particular answers based on its wording. The survey questions establish that there is already a problem associated with diversity of views on college campuses, according to the faculty union, and seek confirmation from the responses.

The inquiry was originally established under House Bill (HB) 233, which Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law in June. Beyond investigation, HB 233 also prohibits the BOG and the State Board of Education from preventing students, faculty, and staff from accessing certain types of information.

This extends to universities, where staff, faculty and students could sue universities if they believe they are being prevented from accessing certain political views or information. The UFF said this could lead to the spread of hate speech, which universities could not suppress due to the provisions of the legislation.

Overall, the group believes the investigation is part of a larger plot by Florida conservatives to encourage right-wing ideologies on college campuses. HB 233 is a continuation of the role of politics in the classroom, which includes restrictions on discussion of race in Senate Bill 148, according to the UFF.

Shortly after HB 233 was approved, the UFF filed a lawsuit in August against the State of Florida, claiming the law was unconstitutional.

“Through open intimidation, covert threats, and political and administrative coercion, this law is designed to chill the First and Fourteenth Amendment rights, as well as the privacy rights, of students, faculty, and staff at the higher education in Florida,” the union wrote in a statement. Release.

On April 5, Judge Mark E. Walker of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida dismissed the state’s attempt to dismiss the lawsuit.

“We look forward to seeing this law struck down by a court as an affront to democracy and the American way,” the UFF said in a press release the same day. “We will continue our fight for all Florida students, faculty, staff, and members of the higher education community until that day comes.”

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