May 29, 2023

Eastern Florida State College Shuts Down Class Over Civil Rights Discussion

3 min read

In Florida, What Happened During The Civil Rights Era, Stays In The Civil Rights Era

By: William Spivey

I have lived in Florida for 46 years and had not heard of East Florida State College (EFSC) before today. To be fair, I had heard of its predecessor, Brevard Community College, which changed its name in 2013 when it changed its curriculum to offer four-year degrees. They have a sports program, no football but the Titans participate in men’s and women’s basketball, golf, soccer, and tennis. There’s a men’s baseball team as well as women’s softball. EFSC is a state school, meaning they come under the auspices of the Ron DeSantis Department of Education. They must concern themselves with not teaching Critical Race Theory (CRT) or implementing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). Tenure in Florida means nothing to DeSantis, and legislation barreling through the legislature, as I write, would allow schools to fire professors at the administration’s whim.

It should come as no surprise that a US government class was canceled on March 9th before it started in Ron DeSantis’s Florida because a single student filled out a complaint form saying they were “uncomfortable with the subject.” Josh Humphries, a political science instructor, sent home the class of twenty students to “avoid a disruptive situation,” according to an EFSC spokesman.

“Mr. Humphries decided to cancel class early in what he believed was a prudent move. He is working with his supervisors on alternative ways to handle such potential problems to ensure future classes can continue. Mr. Humphries is an excellent educator who regularly receives high grades in student satisfaction surveys and is known for inviting political leaders on the Space Coast to speak to his classes, such as former Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolos, Brevard Public Schools Board Chair Matt Susin, Brevard County Commission Chair Rita Pritchett and Circuit Judge Kathryn Speicher.” — John Glisch AVP Communications EFSC

.It appears Mr. Glisch is trying to cover for the instructor and inform Governor DeSantis that EFSC is complying with his desire never to make a presumably white student feel bad. As for Humphries, he has plenty of reasons to fear the Governor as he has ruined several careers in his short career and is petty to the bone.

The Dean of Arts and Social Studies added:

“I will personally work with the instructor right away to provide leadership and guidance on how to handle such situations going forward, including how to respond appropriately to charges of bias and firm direction that class cancelation is never a suitable solution to a classroom management/discipline challenge or even a difficult conversation.” — Phil Simpson.

Educators throughout the state are living in fear; back in January, a Florida school district canceled a lecture on civil rights given by a professor to other instructors. Flagler College professor, J. Michael Butler, was ready to give a speech to Osceola County School District teachers called “The Long Civil Rights Movement,” which proposed that the Civil Rights movement began long before and extended long past Martin Luther King, Jr. Osceola County administrators were fearful they would be guilty of advancing “Critical Race Theory which it wasn’t, but in an abundance of caution, canceled the speech.

Professor Butler said he was surprised but not shocked at the cancelation given the atmosphere of fear the Governor has created.

“There’s a climate of fear, an atmosphere created by Gov. Ron DeSantis, that has blurred the lines between scared and opportunistic. The victims of this censorship are history and the truth. The end game is they’re going to make teaching civil rights into ‘critical race theory,’ and it’s not.” — J. Michael Butler

In DeSantis’s Florida, teachers don’t know what to teach, and administrators don’t know what is allowed. The penalty is severe; they could either lose their jobs, be charged with a third-degree felony, or both. Welcome to Florida! Should this man become President, people will look back fondly on Betsy DeVos, Donald Trump’s Secretary of Education, until she resigned after he tried to overturn an election. We won’t learn from our history because people will be afraid to teach it.

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