Assailed for muzzling professors, University of Florida will now permit them to testify in court as experts

The University of Florida, a publicly-funded college, ordered three of its professors not to give expert testimony at a hearing that might embarass Florida governor Ron DeSantis. After it was reminded of the First Amendment by advocacy groups such as the ACLU and FIRE—and roasted in the press and online media—it is now reversing course.

Attorneys representing the professors said they were still planning to move forward with a lawsuit against the university. "Despite reversing the immediate decision prohibiting the Professors from testifying, the University has made no commitment to abandon its policy preventing academics from serving as expert witnesses when the University thinks that their speech may be adverse to the State and whatever political agenda politicians want to promote," David O'Neil and Paul Donnelly said in a statement. "It is time for this matter to be rightfully adjudicated, not by press release, but in a court of law."

Seems a good idea to press it. The university's obeisance first to political pressure and then to countervailing media pressure looks like feckless brand management and can't be trusted not to change again with another Friday-evening press release. Anything that draws attention to problems caused by the university's lack of genuine political independence (and the degree of commercial activity it is involved in) is worth doing.