Tuesday, July 23, 2024

DeSantis waives diversity and inclusion programs at Florida colleges

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signed legislation Monday that bars the state’s colleges and universities from spending money on diversity, equity and inclusion programs and restricts how race can be discussed in many courses.

The move comes amid a major conservative attack on higher education DEI programs, which DeSantis and others say reinforce racial divisions and promote the liberal orthodoxy. Supporters of these programs say they are critical to serving the nation’s increasingly diverse student population.

“If you look at the way it’s actually been implemented across the country, DEI is best viewed for discrimination, exclusion and indoctrination,” DeSantis said at a news conference at the New College of Florida in Sarasota. “It has no place in our public institutions. The bill would end the entire experiment with DEI in the state of Florida.

of Florida New Law Prohibits public colleges from spending state or federal money on DEI initiatives. These programs often help colleges increase student and faculty diversity, which applies to race and ethnicity, as well as sexual orientation, religion, and socioeconomic status.

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The law also prohibits public colleges from offering general education courses — as part of the required curriculum for all college students — that “distort significant historical events,” teach “identity politics,” or are based on “systemic racist, sexist” theories. , oppression or privilege are inherent in America’s institutions and are created to maintain social, political, or economic inequalities.

The Florida law has faced backlash at the state and national level, where higher education experts and First Amendment advocates say the state is trampling on academic freedom. “This is basically state-mandated censorship that has no place in a democracy,” Irene Mulvey, president of the American Association of University Professors, told The Washington Post in a recent interview.

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DeSantis said students who want to study “core subjects” like critical race theory should look elsewhere. “Florida is getting out of that game,” he said. “If you want to do things like gender ideology, go to Berkeley. Go to some of these other places.”

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The governor signed on the campus of New College of Florida, a public liberal arts college in Sarasota, where the governor recently appointed conservative trustees. One of the first orders of business for the newly formed committee was to eliminate the new college’s DEI office.

The event drew protests, whose chants were heard inside the bill-signing ceremony.

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