Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis had a problem. Three University of Florida professors wanted to serve as expert witnesses for the plaintiffs in a lawsuit aimed at overturning the state’s new law restricting the right to vote.
But then the public university’s administration told the three that they would not be allowed to take part in the case. Problem solved.
This mind-blowing breach of academic freedom was reported by Michael Wines in today’s New York Times. Now, the ban may not hold. Wines interviews experts who say that it certainly violates guarantees of academic freedom and may violate the First Amendment as well.
But DeSantis and his minions have never let such niceties stand in their way. In June, he signed a bill that will require the state’s public colleges and universities to conduct an intrusive survey into the beliefs of students, faculty and staff. A month before that, he turned his signing of the voter-suppression bill into an exclusive event for Fox News. Both of those actions were clear violations of the First Amendment.
Then again, what does DeSantis care? He’s running for president, and there’s nothing more effective for a Republican politician than to attack academics and the media.