Florida SB 2424

The Florida House unaminously passed a bill, which was unaminously passed by the Florida Senate, to bar professors and students from using state funds to travel to "terrorist" states, specifically Sudan, North Korea, Libya (weren't they removed from the list), Iran, and Cuba. The actual language in the legislation says "none of the state or nonstate funds made available to state universities" may be used to organize, direct, coordinate or administer any activities related to or involving travel to a terrorist state.

So, no travel for professors to Cuba to gather data about possible decendants of the Calusa. No travel for study of the last known habitat of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker. No travel for study of archives relating to Spain's role in founding the New World. No travel for study of ethnographic lineage of Afro-Caribbean music. But of course, no problem with state funding for travel to China to build economic partnerships that conveniently ignore torture, human rights violations, and environmental ruin.

According to the bill's co-sponsor, David Rivera of Miami,
"I sincerely believe that these leftists of higher education don't understand the lack of a moral equivalent between America and her enemies."
Evidently, these professors don't understand that restricting their academic freedom is a sign that America believes more strongly in freedom than these other countries.

This kind of activity makes it all the more important for writers of the United States to join organizations such as PEN International through the PEN American Center. It's also disheartening to see, yet again, the Florida legislature over-reach its role. No doubt, the governor will sign this bill, perhaps in some attempt to get all these "leftists" and intellectuals to leave the State of Florida.