Friday, March 25, 2005

Florida legislative committee passes ABoR 

A committee of the Florida House of Representatives passed the Academic Bill of Rights on an 8-2 vote along party lines. The usual panic-stricken groups decided to take a trip down Reductio Road.

Rep. Dan Gelber, D-Miami Beach, warned of lawsuits from students enrolled in Holocaust history courses who believe the Holocaust never happened.

Similar suits could be filed by students who don�t believe astronauts landed on the moon, who believe teaching birth control is a sin or even by Shands medical students who refuse to perform blood transfusions and believe prayer is the only way to heal the body, Gelber added.

�This is a horrible step,� he said. �Universities will have to hire lawyers so our curricula can be decided by judges in courtrooms. Professors might have to pay court costs � even if they win � from their own pockets. This is not an innocent piece of legislation.�

I've made my arguments against this bill already, but this kind of argumentation doesn't help matters at all. The author of the bill has already figured out how to deal with these piddling complaints:

�Professors are accountable for what they say or do,� he said. �They�re accountable to the rest of us in society � All of a sudden the faculty think they can do what they want and shut us out. Why is it so unheard of to say the professor shouldn�t be a dictator and control that room as their totalitarian niche?�

In an interview before the meeting, Baxley said �arrogant, elitist academics are swarming� to oppose the bill, and media reports misrepresented his intentions.

�I expect to be out there on my own pretty far,� he said. �I don�t expect to be part of a team.�