Ron DeSantis SUED – Lawyers Called In!
(UnitedVoice.com) – Last spring, Florida Republicans moved swiftly to protect children from the harms of the far-left movements advocating for transgenderism and woke workplace rules. In April, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signed the Stop the Wrongs to Our Kids and Employees Act (i.e., STOP Woke Act) into law. Lawmakers designed the legislation to prevent educational institutions from instructing students in Critical Race Theory (CRT) and hiring CRT consultants, protecting employees from hostile work environments due to CRT, and providing parents and learners a way to push back.
On Tuesday, September 6, a University of South Florida (USF) student and professor teamed up to sue the school and state officials to prevent the law’s enforcement on university campuses across the Sunshine State. They argue the law chills free speech and expression rights and promotes censorship in higher education.
Duo Fights STOP Woke Act Through Lawsuit
On Tuesday, ahead of the lawsuit’s announcement, 21-year-old USF senior Sam Rechek told the board of trustees that nothing was more important than free expression. He leads a civil discourse club on campus and said he wants to be known as “the free speech guy.” He also became an advisor to those accused of conduct violations and subsequently experienced a lack of due process rights. Joining him in the suit was history professor Adriana Novoa. Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE), a civil liberties group, agreed to represent them in court.
The two plaintiffs filed the legal action against the university board of trustees, the state Board of Governors, and several state officials, including Gov. DeSantis. Recheck said the law prohibits his club and his fellow students from engaging in conversations about race. He told the Tampa Bay Times there’s no greater pursuit than civil discourse and robust debate regarding difficult and complex issues.
Novoa teaches history. She stated the law forced her to remove materials regarding famed baseball player Jackie Robinson and segregation. She noted the course discusses arguments about white privilege. She also pulled content regarding colonialism that contributed to revolutions in Latin America, leading to the concept of “collective guilt.”
The duo believes the First and Fourteenth Amendments prevent the state from enforcing the law on college campuses.
Are the Professor and Student Overreaching?
The act prohibits teachers from presenting lessons that could make someone feel “guilt, anguish, or other forms of psychological distress” due to wrongs committed in the past because of race, sex, or national origin. FIRE stated the law doesn’t allow professors and students to engage in robust debate or discuss challenging issues. It claims the law relegates a college education to memorizing facts and repeating government-approved views.
Novoa said the government could not tell people what they could discuss or how to think. While DeSantis has yet to respond to the lawsuit, he previously stated the bill was about stopping indoctrination and increasing protections from discrimination. He added he wouldn’t allow institutions to use tax dollars to teach hate or teach students how to hate one another.
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