Wednesday, April 06, 2005


Florida Legislature Takes on Liberal Universities

Last week, Bill C. posed the question, "(I) s it time for our state legislators to step in and encourage the hiring of people with various points of view in the interest of education?"

Florida Republican State Rep. Dennis Baxley answers with a resounding "yes":
The measure (HB 837) deliberated by the House Education Council on Tuesday tromps into areas usually reserved for court opinions and university policy. It would give students the right to hear a range of opinions and to receive an education not infringed upon "by instructors who persistently introduce controversial matter." While affirming professors' rights to discuss their field, it says "they should make their students aware of serious scholarly viewpoints other than their own."

In introducing the bill, Rep. Baxley cited an election-eve visit by Michael Moore as a catalyst for this legislation. Curiously, he neglected to explain that Moore's visit was at the request of a student club, not university administrators, which means that it would not be covered by his proposed measure.

Notwithstanding, kudos to Rep. Baxley for daring to take such a Politically Correct stand on the issue of equal access. In fact, one could make the case that it's eerily similar to the Left's attempts to reinstate the Fairness in Media Doctrine, and I know what you all think of THAT idea.

In this time of reduced budgets and tightening belts, is it really in the best interest of universities to have to spend money defending themselves from lawsuits brought on the behalf of students who feel that Intelligent Design wasn't given the same level of attention as Evolution in their Biology class, or that their Poly Sci teacher spent 15 minutes more on a liberal vs. conservative point of view over the course of a semester?

OK, so the delta is probably more like 15 hours than 15 minutes these days, but what is the right ratio, and how could it be accurately monitored in a classroom setting? This measure creates more problems than it solves - it seems more like a grandstanding play by Rep. Baxley than a true attempt to institute new legislation.

But oh, to be a teacher (or a lawyer) in Florida if it passes...

Bill O.


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