Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has officially defunded diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) programs at all state universities, citing that they are a “distraction from the core mission.”
On Monday (May 15), DeSantis signed legislation barring Florida universities from spending state or federal funds to promote, support, or maintain any programs that “advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion, or promote or engage in political or social activism," per CNN.
“This is better viewed as standing for discrimination, exclusion, and indoctrination, and that has no place in our public institutions,” DeSantis said at a news conference in Sarasota. “If you want to do things like gender ideology, go to (the University of California) Berkeley. There’s nothing wrong with that, per se, but for us with our tax dollars, we want to focus on the classical mission of what a university is supposed to be.”
The new law also prohibits general education courses from distorting "significant historical events or include a curriculum that teaches identity politics” based on “theories that systemic racism, sexism, oppression, and privilege are inherent in the institutions of the United States and were created to maintain social, political, and economic inequities.”
“What this does is reorient our universities back to their traditional mission and part of that traditional mission is to treat people as individuals, not to try to divvy them up based on any type of superficial characteristics,” DeSantis said Monday.
University presidents and boards will also be granted more hiring power, according to the law.
“They’re more accountable to the people of Florida who they’re using our tax dollars,” DeSantis said. “It’s easier to be able to make changes if they’re failing at their mission.”