The University of Florida is barring three professors from providing expert testimony in a lawsuit concerning a new state law that restricts voting rights, The Associated Press reports. The university said in a statement that testimony by professors Dan Smith, Michael McDonald, and Sharon Austin as paid experts for the plaintiffs would be “adverse to the university’s interests as a state of Florida institution.”
Lawyers for the coalition of civics groups challenging the law said in court papers that the university told the professors their testimony would create a conflict for the school because it would clash with the position of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration. Critics of the Florida law, which reduces drop-box and mail-in voting, say it discriminates against voters of color in violation of the Voting Rights Act. (Washington Post, 5th Nov 2021)
My comment: “… it would clash with the position of Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration“.
This is a disgraceful statement. It is part of the remit of an academic to speak freely and stand in opposition to the government of the day when necessary, and this is very necessary! What sort of message does that give to the students of the said professors?: “Don’t rock the boat?”, “Whatever you do, conform?”. “Don’t think for yourself?”. “Your parents are not forking out huge sums to keep you at a university, only to find that you have the audacity to think for yourself”.
I will forebear to comment on De Santis myself. Epicurus wouldn’t have done so either. He would have advised his followers to have nothing to do with politics and politicians. (Associated Press)