Mayo is a private college, but the lawsuit argues that the professor's punishment is in direct conflict with Mayo’s free speech and academic freedom policy.
A federal judge ruled Jan. 12 that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration did not violate an order blocking the academic provision of the “Stop WOKE” Act, which restricts race-based discussions in higher education classrooms.
Chief U.S. District Judge Mark Walker blocked a key provision of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ “Stop WOKE” Act, citing First Amendment violations of viewpoint discrimination after Florida claimed that public university professors were bound by state-sanctioned speech.
The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education released a report on August 31st highlighting a growing pattern of university students and outside groups calling for schools to punish professors for statements they made on sensitive political issues. The study showed that the number of targeting incidents against professors has risen precipitously since 2015.
The university claims that the policy is necessary to comply with the state's anti-CRT law. But, Adam Steinbaugh, director of the Foundation of Individual Rights in Education’s Individual Rights Defense Program, says the school's policy goes further than the lawmakers intended and violates the First Amendment of faculty and students.
The college canceled the class due to concerns that it might conflict with a new law that prohibits public schools from having certain kinds of conversations about race and gender. Idaho, Rhode Island, Iowa, New Hampshire, Arkansas, Missouri, Louisiana, and West Virginia have all introduced similar legislation restricting public schools from teaching "divisive" concepts.
Iowa has joined the growing list of states where the legislature has introduced a bill mandating what can and cannot be taught in its public schools, in clear opposition to the First Amendment.
A U.S. Supreme Court ruling creating a categorical bar on the free-speech rights of public employees who speak pursuant to their official job duties does not apply in the university classroom, a federal appeals court has ruled.