Time to stampede, Bulls!
Click here to read more about USF Week events, including a pool party, Bullstock and Rocky’s Birthday Bash. 

OPINION: ‘Wokeism’ doesn’t need to be stopped — DeSantis does

The “Stop WOKE Act” was suspended by federal courts, protecting workplaces, but not universities. SPECIAL TO THE ORACLE/FLICKR/GAGE SKIDMORE

Many companies strive to make their workplace a diverse and comfortable place for all employees. This sentiment is now safe after Gov. Ron DeSantis’ “Stop WOKE Act” was suspended Aug. 18 due to a lawsuit, according to court documents.

The Stop WOKE Act, introduced Dec. 15, amends the Florida Civil Rights Act, making it unlawful for employers to host mandatory employee trainings that promote certain concepts related to anti-discrimination, diversity, equity and inclusion, according to the website of HR Lawyers Ford Harrison. 

If this law were passed, it would further silence and oppress marginalized communities in their own workplace. It violates constitutional rights such as the First and Fourteenth Amendments.

While these rights are still protected in the workplace due to a complaint filed by Honeyfund, educational facilities are still seemingly unprotected. This bill should not be allowed to move further in any aspect.

Proponents of the bill claimed that the state has authority to prevent employers from imposing “repugnant speech on captive employees,” according to an Aug. 18 court document.

U.S. District Judge Mark Walker, the judge who suspended this act, stated the First Amendment doesn’t give the state license to censor speech because it finds it “repugnant” no matter how captive the audience, according to the court document.

This isn’t the first time DeSantis has tried to block free speech, as noticed by Walker.

DeSantis previously pushed SB 7072, a bill filed in April that was made to punish social media platforms that he felt censored conservative voices. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit decided against it on May 23, seeing as it violated social media companies’ First Amendment rights.

The decision to suspend the Stop WOKE Act will be fought by DeSantis and his team.

“Judge Walker has effectively ruled that companies have a First Amendment right to instruct their employees in white supremacy,” Taryn Feske, DeSantis’ communications director, told The Hill. “We disagree and will be appealing his decision.”

Any attempts to continue pushing this bill must be squashed by the court. The effects of such a bill being passed is unfathomable, as some have spoken out on.

“The ‘Stop WOKE Act’ is designed to further exclude marginalized groups from necessary conversations in our schools, communities and workplaces, and to further limit individuals who deserve to exist freely, proudly and to have their stories shared,” said State Legislative Director Cathryn Oakley.

State government is meant to protect our rights, not attack them. Passing the Stop WOKE Act attacks equity in Florida as we know it, which is why it needs to stay as far away as possible from universities and workplaces.