FACT CHECK: Did Ron DeSantis Sign A Bill Requiring Florida Students To Register Their Political Views?

Elias Atienza | Fact Check Reporter

An image shared on Facebook claims Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill requiring students and school faculty to register their political views with the state.

Verdict: Misleading

The bill in question requires universities to send out surveys about viewpoint diversity and intellectual freedom. Students and faculty are not required to register their political views.

Fact Check: 

Social media users are claiming that DeSantis signed a bill requiring school faculty and students to register their political views with the state. “The Florida bill DeSantis signed requiring Florida students and professors to register their political views with the state—is among the most un-American acts ever committed,” reads one such viral tweet.

This claim is misleading and misstates what the bill in question does. The post appears to be a reference to HB 233, which DeSantis signed into law in June 2021, according to WFLA. It directs the Florida State Board of Education to instruct the “Florida College System institution to conduct an annual assessment of the intellectual freedom and viewpoint diversity at that institution.”

“The State Board of Education shall select or create an objective, nonpartisan, and statistically valid survey to be used by each institution which considers the extent to which competing ideas and perspectives are presented and members of the college community, including students, faculty, and staff, feel free to express their beliefs and viewpoints on campus and in the classroom,” reads part of the legislation.

Check Your Fact could not find anything in the legislation that requires students or faculty to register political views, though a union representing university faculty members instructed them not to take the survey, fearing that faculty members could potentially be identified by their answers, according to The Associated Press. The outlet also reported that the surveys are intended to be anonymous. (RELATED: ‘I’m Sick Of People Saying Cops Need More Training’ – Did Ron DeSantis Make This Statement?)

“No, students and faculty are not required to ‘register their political views,'” reads a statement provided to Check Your Fact by Christina Pushaw, DeSantis’s press secretary, in an email.

“The viewpoint diversity surveys are anonymous, voluntary, and no personal information is collected by them at all – only feedback on the intellectual freedom of the campus environment, which is what the survey was designed to determine,” the statement goes on to read.

The viral claim may have stemmed from a June 2021 Salon article headlined, “DeSantis signs bill requiring Florida students, professors to register political views with state.” The article was later corrected and changed to accurately reflect what the law did, according to CNN.

Elias Atienza

Fact Check Reporter
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