Meaningful Higher Education in Florida May Not Survive, Says AAUP Report

In recent years, politically, racially, and ideologically motivated attacks on public higher education by state legislatures have emerged as a very serious threat to academic freedom in this country, with the state of Florida leading the way. Combating these threats is a top priority for the AAUP. 

Today, as part of that work, the AAUP is releasing our report Political Interference and Academic Freedom in Florida’s Public Higher Education System. Almost a year in the making, the report undertakes an in-depth review of a politically and ideologically driven assault unparalleled in US history. If sustained, it threatens the very survival of meaningful higher education in the state, with dire implications for the entire country.  

The report incorporates the perspectives of more than sixty-five interviewees, faculty, students, alumni, trustees, and university leaders, including former presidents. It explicitly considers how long-standing principles and standards of academic freedom and governance at higher education institutions are under attack.

Among the report’s key conclusions are that the unprecedented takeover of New College of Florida and the imposition of an aggressively ideological and politically motivated agenda, marked by improper denials of tenure and a faculty member’s dismissal without due process, stands as one of the most egregious and extensive violations of AAUP principles and standards at a single institution in recent memory, and that the state government’s assault on diversity, equity, and inclusion and on so-called “woke” disciplines not only reflects a blatant disregard for academic standards of governance and academic freedom but is also part of an assault on the rights of racial minorities and LGBTQ communities.


Publication Date: 
Tuesday, December 5, 2023