Republicans in Florida have stepped up their assault on what they call “Marxist professors and students” in the state’s public universities and colleges with a bill that encourages the reporting of lecturers perceived to be stifling “viewpoint diversity” on campus.

The bill, currently awaiting the signature of the Florida governor and Donald Trump ally Ron DeSantis, will allow students to make recordings of lectures without their professors’ consent, and present them as evidence of political bias.

It requires all 40 of Florida’s state-funded institutions of postsecondary education to conduct an annual survey of faculty and students to establish how well intellectual freedoms are protected on campus; and to “shield” students from efforts to limit their “access to, or observation of, ideas and opinions that they may find uncomfortable, unwelcome, disagreeable, or offensive.”

Any institution that blocks a student’s access to such “expressive activities”, the definition of which includes the content of lectures as well as “all forms of peaceful assembly, protests and speeches,” exposes itself to legal action, the new bill states.

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