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Florida College System Censorship Can Not Stand

The AAUP is appalled at the blatant violation of academic freedom and shared governance that the presidents of the Florida College System (FCS) have pledged to commit by February 1, 2023. In less than two weeks, they vow to evaluate the courses offered in their institutions and root out any content that promotes “critical race theory or related concepts such as intersectionality.” Their statement further mandates that any courses that discuss critical race theory may do so only “as one of several theories.”

In a democracy, higher education is a common good which requires that instructors have full freedom in their teaching to select materials and determine the approach to the subject. Instead, the FCS presidents, while giving lip service to academic freedom, have announced their intention to censor teaching and learning by expunging ideas they want to suppress. By dictating course content, they are also usurping the primary responsibility for the curriculum traditionally accorded the faculty under principles of shared governance.

That the only ideas the presidents wish to suppress relate to race is revealing.

The hypocrisy is glaring, as has been the case so often recently in Florida. But the danger is very real. Censorship of ideas has absolutely no place in a democracy. Given the very real threat this action poses for academic freedom and shared governance, the AAUP is exploring all options, including investigation and censure.

Publication Date: 
Friday, January 20, 2023