Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Tuesday that he intends to ban public universities from spending on diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives in the hope that they will “wither the vine” without funding.
“It really serves as an ideological filter, a political filter,” said the Republican, speaking in Bradenton, Florida.
The project is a top priority of DeSantis’ higher education agenda this year, which also politically appoints presidents and university boards of trustees more power in hiring and firing universities and schools to support their missions in Florida’s future work needs. DeSantis, who is said to be considering a potential 2024 presidential bid, has seen his standing among conservatives rise in the nation following public positions on hot-button issues of culture and education.
In a press release about the legislation, the president’s office called diversity, equity and inclusion programs “discriminatory,” and vowed to stop universities from funding them, even if the source of the money doesn’t come from the state.
The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion program is designed to promote multiculturalism and encourage students of all backgrounds and backgrounds to feel comfortable in the campus setting, especially from traditionally underserved communities. The state’s flagship school, the University of Florida, has a “Chief Diversity Office,” a “Center for Inclusion and Multicultural Management” and an “Office for Accessibility and Gender Equity.”
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The announcement was made on Tuesday in December when the president’s office asked all state universities to account for all spending on programs and projects for diversity, equity and inclusion or critical theory.
DeSantis announced his higher education agenda in Bradenton, a 15-minute drive from New College of Florida, the public liberal arts college where DeSantis established a controversial new board, with a mandate to reform the school into his conservative vision for higher education. DeSantis said his fund will use $15 million to renovate the new college and hire faculty.
The news is leading protests on campus on Tuesday.
One of the new DeSantis board members, Eddie Speir, wrote in a journal post that he proposed at that meeting “terminating all faculty, staff and management contracts of the school, “and immediately reorganizing those facilities, staff and management. It becomes a new financial and business model.” .
DeSanti’s announcement earlier this month follows a two-year commitment by state community college leaders not to teach critical theory in the classroom and “not to institute or support any institutional practice, policy, or academic requirement that enforces belief in critical gender theory or related concepts such as intersectionality.” , or the idea that oppressive systems should be the primary lens through which teaching and learning are developed and/or improved.”
The movement has been marked by pain in state education, such as the rejection of the “excitement” of diversity, equity and inclusion. [and] critical type of teaching doctrines “.