Press Releases

STATEMENT RELEASE: The James Mad⁠i⁠son Ins⁠t⁠⁠i⁠⁠t⁠u⁠t⁠e Applauds Governor DeSan⁠t⁠⁠i⁠s’ S⁠i⁠gn⁠i⁠ng of In⁠t⁠ellec⁠t⁠ual D⁠i⁠vers⁠i⁠⁠t⁠y Law

By: The James Madison Institute / 2021

For Immediate Release

June 23, 2021

CONTACT: Logan Padgett



TALLAHASSEE – The James Madison Institute (JMI) released a statement applauding Governor DeSantis for signing into law a proposal defending intellectual diversity on college campuses. This law would require Florida higher education institutions to conduct an annual assessment of intellectual freedom and viewpoint diversity on their respective campuses.

“To accomplish their mission, state universities must cultivate a campus culture that promotes open inquiry, free expression, intellectual diversity, vigorous debate, and constructive dialogue. That is in everyone’s best interest. It is reasonable and appropriate to take an annual survey that assesses how well our state universities are doing at this task. Hopefully, the results of these surveys will show Floridians where our universities need to improve — and what they are doing right that other states aren’t doing.” – William Mattox, Director of the J. Stanley Marshall Center for Educational Options, The James Madison Institute

The law, authored in the Florida Legislature by Senator Ray Rodrigues and Representative Spencer Roach, was made possible in large part because of the work by the Board of Governors to expand free speech protection through encouraging all university presidents to adopt and sign the “Chicago Statement,” a pledge affirming commitment to “full and open discourse and the robust exchange of ideas and perspectives on our respective campuses.” In April 2019, the presidents of all 12 state universities in Florida joined State University System Chancellor Marshall Criser in issuing a joint statement affirming their commitment to this pledge.

Last October, JMI released a policy brief entitled “Combatting ‘Idea Suppression’ How Florida Universities Can Continue their Rise to National Prominence.” The report compiled a a variety of measures that examine how well today’s universities protect free speech, promote a campus culture open to different viewpoints, and respond to speech-bullying by those seeking to drown out viewpoints they oppose.


The James Madison Institute is a 501©3 organization dedicated to the ideals of limited government, economic freedom, federalism and individual liberty coupled with individual responsibility. The institute conducts research on such issues as criminal justice, health care, taxes and regulatory environments.