Claim: Campus 'Free Speech' Surveys Are 'Authoritarianism'

Claim: Campus 'Free Speech' Surveys Are 'Authoritarianism'

By any measure, Donald Trump’s respect for and adherence to the U.S. Constitution was unparalleled in modern history, though he was regularly accused of ‘authoritarianism’ by his left-wing critics.

In reality, however, it is they who are the tyrants, and worse, they are breeding an entire generation of authoritarians steeped in Marxist groupthink and intolerant of anyone who disagrees to the point of seeing critics silenced.

This was in evidence again recently as noted by Just the News:

Asking college students and employees to rate the free speech climate on their campus is so controversial it has prompted at least one lawsuit and the resignation of a chancellor.

A federal judge refused to block Florida from distributing an anonymous online survey under a state law (HB 233) requiring each public university to “conduct an annual assessment of the intellectual freedom and viewpoint diversity at that institution.”

According to a faculty version of the survey which, by the way, is completely voluntary, that was obtained by The Chronicle of Higher Education, among the 24 questions it also asks for demographic information including race, political affiliation, and academic department,

It asks faculty specifically if they “inject their own political ideas and beliefs” during class instruction, whether they think that their political beliefs have anything to do with whether they are able to achieve tenure, and if their institutions back research and publications throughout the political spectrum:

Questions on the shorter student survey include whether professors “use class time to express their own social or political beliefs without objectively discussing opposing social or political beliefs,” the Tampa Bay Times reported.

Plaintiffs include United Faculty of Florida, which represents 25,000 faculty and 8,000 graduate students, and the March for Our Lives Action Fund, founded by Parkland school shooting activists.

But, according to U.S. District Judge Mark Walker, a Barack Obama appointee, in an April 1 ruling, the plaintiffs have failed to show that the survey provision “was passed with a discriminatory intent such that this Court would review it as a content-based restriction on speech.” He intentionally “truncated” the ruling to allow plaintiffs to appeal. He also refused to block the suit, ruling that plaintiffs had identified “at least one cognizable theory” of First Amendment violation.

Before the bill’s passage last year, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education warned the recording provision could worsen cancel culture and especially imperil students, since it also lets faculty sue them for up to $200,000 for sharing unauthorized recordings.

Cosponsor Republican Rep. Spencer Roach told Inside Higher Ed he was surprised how little of the opposition focused on the recording provision. He and other sponsors wanted to gather “empirical data” to verify the “anecdotal reports from constituents going back a number of years” concerning alleged viewpoint discrimination.

The union argues the survey is a political pretext to target academic programs the state’s Republican leadership doesn’t like and could be used to identify disfavored faculty, particularly minorities. 

It told members to boycott the survey, which enables “authoritarianism and surveillance,” after Walker refused an injunction. 

Meanwhile, the University of Wisconsin System’s survey, which went live last week and is open for a month, is limited to undergraduates. But Interim Chancellor Jim Henderson of the Whitewater campus disagreed with it so much that he decided to resign over it in protest.

If you want to know what America’s future leaders are going to be like, you need only pay more attention to the burgeoning Marxism being foisted upon students today.


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