Liberty for All


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Cristina Pop, Assistant Opinion Editor

Governor Ron DeSantis recently proposed Florida House Bill 999. The language of the bill pertains to postsecondary education and questions the educational value and validity of courses “based on unproven, theoretical or exploratory content.”

HB 999 sparked a lot of controversy and debate. Some argue that theory courses are essential for the well-rounded education of students in every major, while others believe that students should have the freedom to choose which classes they take.

HB 999 says, “Courses with a curriculum based on unproven, theoretical, or exploratory content are best suited to fulfill elective or specific program prerequisite credit requirements, rather than general education credit requirements.”

In other words, theory courses will be made available to students who want to take them; however, the liberty of having these courses should not infringe on the liberty of those who do not want to take them. As long as theory courses remain as general education requirements, students don’t have the option not to take them.

For example, communication majors and education majors, among others, are required to take theory courses in order to graduate.

Students majoring in communication at FGCU are required to take a class called “History of Rhetorical Theory,” which by its name and syllabus, seems relevant to the major, but the material has little to do with communication.

A junior communication major at FGCU who prefers to remain anonymous shared her thoughts on the class. She explained that the material had nothing to do with communication and that it was very inappropriate and far gone from what the syllabus entailed.

“He just prefaced it with, ‘We are going to talk about uncomfortable things,’ but I didn’t know that entailed seeing pictures of naked men and people having sex. It is a requirement for the communication majors to take the course,” the anonymous source said.

Students who feel uncomfortable listening, seeing and studying sexual content should not be required to take a course in order to graduate in their given major. If theory classes remain, they should be strictly optional, especially when their material makes students uncomfortable.

Additionally, theory classes tend to teach propaganda and favor one particular side. Classes that claim to teach theories should touch on all sides and perspectives rather than being politicized. For example, theory courses such as critical race studies, radical feminist theory and queer theory have integrated more politics than theoretical education. The politics within these classes also tend to swing in one direction, leaving little room for discussion of the other side. Thus, funding these programs is funding the spread of a political agenda rather than actual education.

I believe in the freedom of choice, whether the choice is to take part in theory courses or not. The bill’s language pertaining to theory courses doesn’t seem to infringe on the rights of students to take part in them. It instead provides protection to students who do not want to take part in inappropriate content and political propaganda.