The Concern of House Bill 233


Melanie Diaz, Contributor

On March 7th, 2021, the republican-led Florida legislature passed house bill 233. Also known as the Postsecondary Education, the bill requires the board of education to survey public colleges, including staff, students, and faculty in an attempt to broaden the intellectual diversity at these universities.

Personally, it seems that the legislation is a way for these people to monitor, and manipulate the political agenda, as well as regulate speech, in different universities across the state. The Florida representative, Spencer Roach hopes to “use that data as the basis to make policy decisions.” 

This will only affect those in Florida colleges, however, it seems to have a bigger end goal, there are plans for this bill to reach students of all ages. A possibility for this to be implemented in ages as young as elementary school students. Not only is this unnecessary, but it further supports the idea of legislatures wanting to control and track the public’s opinions. 

The bill would also remove the restrictions on speech that “maybe uncomfortable, disagreeable or offensive.”  Oh, you mean, like if the KKK wanted to do a rally? Or if the proud boys wanted to promote their ideologies? These restrictions allow there to be a lack of violence or hate speech, removing these restrictions is minacious. 

And, get this, in an age where people’s private lives have especially been invaded, the bill also allows students to record their professors and student lectures without consent from them. Although it may be beneficial for educational purposes, the premise is sketchy and can be susceptible to many dangers. The consent for privacy seems like it would be a basic human right, right? 

The bill says the  recordings are if it’s “for their own personal educational use, in connection with a complaint to the public institution of higher education where the recording was made or as evidence in, or in preparation for, a criminal or civil proceeding.” With these valid reasonings, a question that comes to mind is, why can’t the recording be consensual? The safety of the students and professors should be prioritized, and with this bill, I would feel rather uneasy in a lecture. 

Although the bill does state that the students are not allowed to share those on social media, it seems like a harder issue to manage. Once the recordings are taken, it is difficult to control where and how they may be used. There also isn’t any punishment that can come with it. No one is being sentenced to jail for posting on social media. In the long-term, this idea could lead to more harm than good.

There is nothing mentioned about the protection of minors as well. “We have not made any specific allowances for the recording, or not recording, of minors on campus,” This itself seems problematic and can lead to the non-consensual spread of images of those that are underage. 

There is no uniform rule for the recordings of classroom lectures, meaning students can already make recordings in classes, this is already a process that is occurring.