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DeSantis strikes again

MON.| 4-24-23 | OPINION

     Governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis, has taken another step to place Florida back into the dark ages and throw decades of progression out the window. DeSantis, along with fellow legislators, have introduced a new bill known as the Higher Education Censorship and Government Control Bill, otherwise known as HB 999. This new bill has caused heavy controversy due to the policies it will enact and the restrictions it will place on education in Florida.

     HB 999 is a new form of censorship placed on higher education institutions. What makes this bill so scary is the vagueness of its wording, and therefore the ability to push the limits on what it can and cannot do, having the potential to destroy academic freedom.

     What HB 999 will do is essentially ban any diversity-related programs or certain courses of study, like racial or gender studies. It will also ban all student organizations that promote diversity on college campuses. These proposed bans

HB 999.png

Graphic by Jordyn Godwin

are outrageous and are an abuse of power by Florida legislators. In particular, an abuse of power by DeSantis who has already shown how he is against minority groups and promoting diversity, by doing things like blocking African American studies in public schools. 

     Diversity clubs and these fields of study are incredibly important in the modern day as they allow for open conversation about problems like inequality and prejudice. These programs are important to counteract years of discrimination and promote more inclusivity, understanding and a need for change.

     Not only will this bill outlaw any form of diverse studies, but it will even put professors who have secured tenure up for review if they try to go against this bill and teach critical race theory, or any diverse studies. They can also remove professors if Florida legislators feel like they do not agree with the values that the professors believe or choose to discuss. The Florida government is outright censoring educators and their students from speaking about the history of inequality and quite possibly the future of equality. Not only is this a violation of the first amendment, but also an appalling act of authoritarianism.

     The fact that there is a possibility that a bill like this could pass is horrific. The government is meant to protect and support the people, not silence them entirely. If something like this could happen in Florida, who’s to say it will not continue and spread to other states? I believe that this act must be stopped. It cannot continue and I feel like some federal government must step in to put an end to it.

     These Florida state officials are using their power to outlaw the ideas they do not like, to outlaw discussion of topics they do not like. They are using their power to enforce their own ideologies and silence the ideologies of others. 

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