HB 0837

A bill to be entitled
2An act relating to student and faculty academic freedom in
3postsecondary education; amending s. 1002.21, F.S.;
4providing student rights to academic freedom; creating s.
51004.09, F.S.; providing a postsecondary student and
6faculty academic bill of rights; specifying student,
7faculty, and instructor rights; requiring the
8dissemination of copies of the act to state universities
9and community colleges; providing an effective date.
11     WHEREAS, the principles enumerated in this act fully apply
12only to public postsecondary institutions, and nothing in this
13act shall be construed as interfering with the right of a
14private postsecondary institution to restrict academic freedom
15on the basis of creed or belief, and
16     WHEREAS, the central purposes of a postsecondary
17institution are the pursuit of truth, the discovery of new
18knowledge through scholarship and research, the study and
19reasoned criticism of intellectual and cultural traditions, the
20teaching and general development of students to help them become
21creative individuals and productive citizens of a pluralistic
22democracy, and the transmission of knowledge and learning to
23society at large, and
24     WHEREAS, free inquiry and free speech within the academic
25community are indispensable to the achievement of these central
26purposes which reflect the values of pluralism, diversity,
27opportunity, critical intelligence, openness, and fairness that
28are the cornerstones of American society, and
29     WHEREAS, the freedoms to teach and to learn depend upon the
30creation of appropriate conditions and opportunities on the
31campus as a whole as well as in the classrooms and lecture
32halls, and
33     WHEREAS, academic freedom is indispensable to American
34postsecondary education and, from its first formulation in the
35General Report of the Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure
36of the American Association of University Professors, the
37concept of academic freedom has been premised on the idea that
38human knowledge is the pursuit of truth and that there is no
39humanly accessible truth that is not in principle open to
40challenge, and
41     WHEREAS, academic freedom is most likely to thrive in an
42environment that protects and fosters independence of thought
43and speech and, in the words of the general report, it is vital
44to protect as "the first condition of progress, [a] complete and
45unlimited freedom to pursue inquiry and publish its results,"
47     WHEREAS, because free inquiry and its fruits are crucial to
48the democratic enterprise itself, academic freedom is a national
49value as well, and
50     WHEREAS, in Keyishian v. Board of Regents of the University
51of the State of New York, a historic 1967 decision, the Supreme
52Court of the United States overturned a New York State loyalty
53provision for teachers with the words, "Our Nation is deeply
54committed to safeguarding academic freedom, [a] transcendent
55value to all of us and not merely to the teachers concerned,"
57     WHEREAS, in Sweezy v. New Hampshire (1957), the Supreme
58Court of the United States observed that the "essentiality of
59freedom in the community of American universities [was] almost
60self-evident," and
61     WHEREAS, academic freedom consists of protecting the
62intellectual independence of professors, researchers, and
63students in the pursuit of knowledge and the expression of ideas
64from interference by legislators or authorities within the
65institution itself, meaning that no political or ideological
66orthodoxy should be imposed on professors and researchers
67through the hiring, tenure, or termination process or through
68any other administrative means by the academic institution nor
69should legislators impose any such orthodoxy through the control
70of postsecondary institution budgets, and
71     WHEREAS, from the first statement on academic freedom, it
72has been recognized that intellectual independence means the
73protection of students as well as faculty from the imposition of
74any orthodoxy of a political or ideological nature, and
75     WHEREAS, the General Report of the Committee on Academic
76Freedom and Tenure of the American Association of University
77Professors admonished faculty to avoid "taking unfair advantage
78of the student's immaturity by indoctrinating him with the
79teacher's own opinions before the student has had an opportunity
80fairly to examine other opinions upon the matters in question,
81and before he has sufficient knowledge and ripeness of judgment
82to be entitled to form any definitive opinion of his own," and
83     WHEREAS, in 1967, the American Association of University
84Professors' Joint Statement on Rights and Freedoms of Students
85reinforced and amplified this injunction by affirming the
86inseparability of "the freedom to teach and freedom to learn"
87and, in the words of the joint statement, "Students should be
88free to take reasoned exception to the data or views offered in
89any course of study and to reserve judgment about matters of
90opinion," and
91     WHEREAS, the academic criteria of the scholarly profession
92should include reasonable scholarly options within the areas of
93discipline, and
94     WHEREAS, the value of the life of the mind was articulated
95by Thomas Jefferson when he stated, "We are not afraid to follow
96truth wherever it may lead, nor to tolerate any error so long as
97reason is left free to combat it," and
98     WHEREAS, the education of the next generation of leaders
99should contain rigorous and balanced exposure to significant
100theories and thoughtful viewpoints, and students should be given
101the knowledge and background that empowers them to think for
102themselves, NOW, THEREFORE,
104Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
106     Section 1.  Subsection (7) is added to section 1002.21,
107Florida Statutes, to read:
108     1002.21  Postsecondary student and parent rights.--
109     (7)  STUDENT ACADEMIC FREEDOM.--As detailed in s. 1004.09,
110students have rights to a learning environment in which they
111have access to a broad range of serious scholarly opinion, to be
112graded without discrimination on the basis of their political or
113religious beliefs, and to a viewpoint-neutral distribution of
114student fee funds.
115     Section 2.  Section 1004.09, Florida Statutes, is created
116to read:
117     1004.09  Postsecondary student and faculty academic bill of
119     (1)  Students have a right to expect a learning environment
120in which they will have access to a broad range of serious
121scholarly opinion pertaining to the subjects they study. In the
122humanities, the social sciences, and the arts, the fostering of
123a plurality of serious scholarly methodologies and perspectives
124should be a significant institutional purpose.
125(2)  Students have a right to expect that they will be
126graded solely on the basis of their reasoned answers and
127appropriate knowledge of the subjects they study and that they
128will not be discriminated against on the basis of their
129political or religious beliefs.
130(3)  Students have a right to expect that their academic
131freedom and the quality of their education will not be infringed
132upon by instructors who persistently introduce controversial
133matter into the classroom or coursework that has no relation to
134the subject of study and serves no legitimate pedagogical
136(4)  Students have a right to expect that freedom of
137speech, freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, and freedom
138of conscience of students and student organizations will not be
139infringed upon by postsecondary administrators, student
140government organizations, or institutional policies, rules, or
142(5)  Students have a right to expect that their academic
143institutions will distribute student fee funds on a viewpoint-
144neutral basis and will maintain a posture of neutrality with
145respect to substantive political and religious disagreements,
146differences, and opinions.
147(6)  Faculty and instructors have a right to academic
148freedom in the classroom in discussing their subjects, but they
149should make their students aware of serious scholarly viewpoints
150other than their own and should encourage intellectual honesty,
151civil debate, and critical analysis of ideas in the pursuit of
152knowledge and truth.
153(7)  Faculty and instructors have a right to expect that
154they will be hired, fired, promoted, and granted tenure on the
155basis of their competence and appropriate knowledge in their
156fields of expertise and will not be hired, fired, denied
157promotion, or denied tenure on the basis of their political or
158religious beliefs.
159(8)  Faculty and instructors have a right to expect that
160they will not be excluded from tenure, search, or hiring
161committees on the basis of their political or religious beliefs.
162     (9)  Students, faculty, and instructors have a right to be
163fully informed of their rights and their institution's grievance
164procedures for violations of academic freedom by means of
165notices prominently displayed in course catalogs and student
166handbooks and on the institutional website.
167     Section 3.  The Chancellor of Colleges and Universities
168shall provide a copy of the provisions of this act to the
169president of each state university. The Chancellor of Community
170Colleges and Workforce Education shall provide a copy of the
171provisions of this act to the president of each community
173     Section 4.  This act shall take effect July 1, 2005.

CODING: Words stricken are deletions; words underlined are additions.