‘Positive dystopia’: Florida judge blocks DeSantis’ college anti-wake-up law

“‘It was a bright, cold day in April when the clock struck thirteen,’ the authority in charge of Florida’s public university system declared that the state had the right to suppress its professors in the name of ‘liberty,'” Walker wrote , citing George Orwell’s novel “1984”. Walker was appointed to the federal bench by former President Barack Obama.

Florida Republican-led Legislature approves ‘anti-wake-up’ legislation, FL HB 7 (22R), or the Personal Liberty Act earlier this year. Directly inspired by DeSantis, the law expands Florida’s anti-discrimination laws that prohibit schools and companies from inflicting guilt or blame on students and employees based on race or gender “Feeling guilt, distress, or any other form of psychological distress” because of their race, color, gender, or national origin.

The governor’s spokesman, Brian Griffin, said the government would appeal.

“We strongly disagree with Judge Walker’s preliminary injunction enforcing the Stop Wake Act and will continue to fight,” he said in a statement.

In his ruling Thursday, Walker found the policies violated First Amendment protections of free speech as well as due process rights on college campuses under the 14th Amendment.

“The law formally prohibits professors from expressing unpopular views in college classrooms, while allowing unrestricted expression of contrary views,” Walker wrote. “Defendants argue that under the Act, professors enjoy ‘academic freedom’ as long as they express only state-approved views. This is absolutely dystopian.”

Thursday’s court ruling vote comes from two separate challenges to the Stop-Woke Act, which were heard together because they both objected to how the law applies to higher education. Other legal challenges target K-12 schools and workplaces.

one of the lawsuits Submitted by the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression, a university free speech organization, on behalf of USF professors, students, and student groups. It claims the legislation DeSantis is pushing violates their free speech, as evidenced by how it restricts classes on key topics like Jackie Robinson, who broke down the color barrier in professional baseball.

“Faculty and staff are hired to provide advice based on their academic expertise, not along party lines,” Adam Steinbaugh, an attorney for FIRE, said in a statement. “Florida has no First Amendment rights regarding faculty and staff. arguments that endanger faculty across the political spectrum.”

In a separate lawsuit, the ACLU, the ACLU of Florida and the Legal Defense Fund are suing the state over “anti-wake-up” legislation on behalf of students and educators. They claim it is a “discriminatory classroom censorship law that severely restricts” the way race and gender are taught and talked about in schools.

“This is a huge win for everyone who values ​​academic freedom and recognizes the value of an inclusive education,” Emerson Sykes, senior attorney for the ACLU’s Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project, said in a statement. “First Amendment Broad protections of our rights to share information and ideas include the rights of educators and students to learn, discuss, and debate systemic racism and sexism.”

The State University System Board of Trustees, one of the central defendants in the case, declined to comment on the ruling. Officials with the Florida Department of Education did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

second motion to dismissLawyers for the state argued that the legislation prohibits teachers and professors from endorsing concepts articulated in anti-wake-up laws other than “past descriptive, historical discussions of racism.”

“For example, if a professor instructs a student at a time in history when an individual’s privileged or oppressed status was necessarily determined by race, that instruction does not violate the Act,” the state’s attorneys wrote. “The professor merely described the historical facts and did not personally endorse the view that an individual’s status today is necessarily determined by race.”

University of Florida leadership gave preliminary approval earlier this month to a New rule outlines review of tenured faculty The statewide member’s guidelines require schools to investigate college professors for any violations of “Stop-WOKE” laws, as well as unsanctioned absences, substantiated student complaints and other indicators.

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