Removal of Sociology requirement threatens academic freedom

It’s incredibly telling that government officials would fight so hard to prevent students from participating in something that could threaten the fragile hierarchy from which they so clearly benefit. | Heidi Cuevas, PantherNOW

Mariantonia Mejia | Staff Writer

Sociology, has become the newest victim of Governor Ron DeSantis’s “war on woke”. With this concerning new move, the future of higher education as a whole is seemingly bleak. 

On Jan. 17, the State Board of Education ruled to replace “Principles of Sociology” as a core course with a class on American History. 

In keeping with the current mission of the conservative Florida government, this newest move foreshadows the academic suppression we have feared for some time now within higher education.

Though this move may seem relatively small since the requirement to take the class has been removed, not the class itself, it’s likely that this decision will have a detrimental affect on enrollment in these courses.

This decision was not made with a clear understanding of what sociology teaches students, rather it was based on the misconception of the subject as a twisted form of a woke bogeyman that is out to radicalize college students. 

Sociology, which has been present in college courses since the 1950s, give students the opportunity to think critically about the social structures we have put in place, and what in our history and current times allowed for these structures to be built. 

As explained in the program description for FIU’s Sociology/Anthropology program, sociologists often study the effects of corporate downsizing, urban blights and gentrification, among other things, on social life. 

These types of courses are vital for fostering growth and openness of thinking among students, to say nothing of the possible scientific advancements in doing sociological research. 

Sociology is consistently questioning the structures of power and suggesting that they may be at fault for much of our social decline. 

It’s incredibly telling that government officials would fight so hard to prevent students from participating in something that could threaten the fragile hierarchy from which they so clearly benefit. 

And, despite the fact that students can still take sociology classes as an elective, the existence of a plethora of other electives that are more closely related to our particular major will most likely result in lower enrollment rates for sociology related courses. 

This will have a devastating impact not only on sociology professors, for whom this is their livelihood, but students who will not get the opportunity to have their eyes opened to an entirely new field of study. 

Even though changes have not yet been made to FIU’s University Core Curriculum, given the speed of the recent DEI elimination, they’re sure to come soon. 

Once those changes have been implemented, only time will tell the detrimental effects it will have on professors, students, and the future of the sociology major as a whole. 

It is clear that this decision, aside from the Florida government’s obvious attack on anything that questions established structures of power, jeopardizes the academic freedom that has already begun to be stripped away from higher education. 

Removal of the requirement to take a vital course in a young adult education should not be seen as a minor shift in our education systems. As decisions like these continue to arise, there is no telling what attacks on academic freedom await. 


The opinions presented on this page do not represent the views of the PantherNOW Editorial Board. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community.

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