Ricochet is the best place on the internet to discuss the issues of the day, either through commenting on posts or writing your own for our active and dynamic community in a fully moderated environment. In addition, the Ricochet Audio Network offers over 50 original podcasts with new episodes released every day.
How many times have you asked yourself what would it take to stop the universities from insisting that students and professors are racists? Surprisingly, in Florida, it hasn’t taken much effort at all, thanks to the consistent actions of Gov. DeSantis and the Florida Board of Governors which oversees the university system. In fact, the Board of Governors is exploring additional prohibitions to be included in the rule.
To review how we arrived at this moment, Gov. DeSantis signed the “Stop WOKE Act”:
Restricting how race is discussed in schools, colleges and workplace training programs, the law prohibits any teaching that could make students or workers feel they bear personal responsibility for historic wrongs because of their race, color, sex or national origin.
The law, which took effect July 1, bars instruction that an individual’s ‘moral character or status as either privileged or oppressed is determined by his or her race, color, sex, or national origin.’
Without any governmental or university pressure, the UCF English Department removed an anti-racist statement from its website that it had posted; in fact, the university said that the statement did not appear to be in violation of any law, and the English Dept. issued no reason for removing it. Following this action, other departmental statements were also removed from their websites with the following statement:
University spokesman Chad Binette said the school removed the statements because they ‘could be seen as potentially inconsistent with our commitment to creating a welcoming environment,’ which he described as ‘one where faculty objectively engage students in robust, scholarly discussions that expand their knowledge and empower them to freely express their views and form their own perspectives.’
‘UCF is committed to building a culture that values respect, civil discourse, and creating a sense of belonging. In an effort to more clearly communicate that commitment, we will be working with departments to ensure statements better align with our university values,’ Binette wrote in an email.
And what were the offending statements that were removed? Here’s one:
‘We acknowledge that many of us are born with unearned privilege, while others are denied basic human rights,’ read the anthropology department’s antiracism statement, which was apparently removed within the past few days. ‘We decry this history, commit ourselves to rectifying it, and stand with those working to build an antiracist future for our nation.’
Everything about this statement reflects an attack on all Americans and our supposedly illegitimate history that must be atoned for by those living in America today.
State Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith (D) claimed that the new law created fear around ways the university could promote diversity and inclusion. His is an odd statement to make, given that we are all considered to be racists (hardly a diverse perspective) and nothing about the racist accusations would indicate a desire for inclusion of all people in the university community.
* * * *
Given that the university has taken action to comply with the prohibitions against Critical Race Theory, I am delighted to know how quickly the administrators complied, even without specific warnings or threats. I suspect that the demands of the state administration for compliance with their expectations, given the clarity and consistency of their actions over the last couple of years, has resulted in a minimal amount of pushback (at least to date).
When governors and their states act from a place of morality, integrity, and truth, university professors can complain to their hearts’ content about censorship. But it’s time that universities begin to resurrect their original missions to create an environment for learning, civil discourse, and the exchange of ideas.
Once again, Gov. Ron DeSantis takes the lead.Published in