Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has been hammering away on higher education in Florida. He clearly sees this as a winning electoral issue as he prepares himself for the Republican presidential primary, and he is no doubt right that there is a lot of conservative anger out there (some (much?) of it justified) about the state of American higher education.
The way he has approached the issue is cause for alarm, however, for those who care about academic freedom. I have a new piece over in The Dispatch on the various moves to date in Florida.
From the piece:
DeSantis has adopted a machine gun approach to conservative complaints about higher education, spraying bullets everywhere in the hopes that some might hit the target, without worrying too much about collateral damage. Given the rush of activity, mixed motives, and heated rhetoric, it is also not surprising that his critics have not always been too careful about distinguishing between genuine threats to academic freedom and mere policy disagreements. Nonetheless, the risk to free inquiry at Florida state universities under DeSantis is a real one.
Read the whole thing here.
Also I’m on the latest episode of The Remnant with Jonah Goldberg talking about Hamline, Florida, and the general state of free inquiry in higher education.
Check it out.
Also some notable recent pieces on Florida that are not by me.
Cathy Young at the Bulwark
Don Moynihan at his substack
Daniel Golden at ProPublica
Emma Pettit at the Chronicle of Higher Education has been doing excellent reporting on developments in Florida