Excerpt: For academic freedom’s advocates, there is much to like about the recent federal court ruling prohibiting Florida’s board of governors from enforcing the Individual Freedom Act. Especially gratifying are the rhetorical tropes Judge Mark Walker deploys in justifying this preliminary injunction.
In two earlier blog entries, I argued that the Stop W.O.K.E. Act is one element of a much larger project designed to secure unilateral control over Florida’s public education system, including its colleges and universities, in the service of a right-wing agenda. Here, I extend that argument but suggest that what Judge Walker represents as a ruling in favor of academic freedom in fact justifies the state’s authority to encroach on that same freedom. Walker thereby intimates the structural reforms that are essential if the university is to prove a sustainable home for the unfettered inquiry that is its mission.