For Immediate Release:
March 6, 2018
STATEMENT RELEASE: JMI Commends Florida Legislature on Passage of Higher Education Bill
Tallahassee- The James Madison Institute (JMI) hailed today’s passage of a major higher education package by the Florida Legislature. The bill contains two provisions that JMI has promoted in print and testimony – the availability of Bright Futures scholarships for summer use by eligible college students and the elimination of so-called “free speech zones” at state institutions of higher learning.
“Summer use of Bright Futures scholarships gives Florida college students greater scheduling flexibility in pursuing their degrees,” noted William Mattox, the director of JMI’s Marshall Center for Educational Options. “In addition, it ensures more efficient use of building space since many college classrooms currently sit idle during the summer months.”
In addition, Mattox said Florida’s public universities stand to benefit from the Legislature’s elimination of campus speech zones. Citing research contained in his recent JMI study on campus free expression, Mattox said that several different national ratings services currently downgrade Florida schools for restricting free expression to carefully-regulated zones often in obscure areas of campus.
“The concept of limiting the rights of students and speakers at public universities is antithetical to the principles of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution,” observed JMI President Bob McClure.“ We are pleased that the Florida Legislature is putting an end to the practice of limiting free expression to postage-stamp-sized areas in remote parts of campus.”