Florida: DeSantis Ends Public Funding for College DEI
On Monday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed legislation that bans state colleges from using tax dollars to fund diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) programs, as well as a host of other educational reforms to higher education.
- On Monday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed legislation that bans state colleges from using tax dollars to fund diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) programs, as well as a host of other educational reforms to higher education.1
- Speaking at the New College of Florida in Sarasota, DeSantis stated that DEI "has no place in our public institutions" and referred to such programs as teaching "discrimination, exclusion and indoctrination." Florida, he said, isn't the place to study "niche subjects" such as critical race theory or "gender ideology."2
- The law bans courses that allegedly "distort" historical events or teach "identity politics" and empowers the state university Board of Governors to review college programs that are "based on theories that systemic racism, sexism, oppression, and privilege are inherent in the institutions of the [US]."3
- While the law doesn't eliminate specific programs, such as gender studies, critics believe it will impede academic freedom, with 20 states having introduced similar laws.4
- The new laws could also be open to legal challenges, as a lawyer for the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression has stated that while governments have the right to dictate standards in education, the "case law is clear" that policies banning ideas from the classroom would be First Amendment violations.2
- The New College has been a centerpiece of DeSantis' educational reform mission, with the traditionally progressive college undergoing a $34M overhaul after he appointed a board of trustees that slashed funding for its DEI program in a bid to transform it into a "classical" liberal arts college.5
Sources: 1Reuters, 2Washington Post, 3NBC, 4Forbes, and 5POLITICO.
- Republican narrative, as provided by FOX News. Tax money shouldn't be diverted to divisive, woke educational programs that prioritize politics over education and identity over merit. Colleges have been hijacked by activists whose curricula go against Western values, democratic ideals, and freedoms of expression and thought — a push that's profoundly unpopular with the general public and shouldn't be supported.
- Democratic narrative, as provided by Newsweek. Republicans are waging a war on education as part of their culture war agenda. The GOP has manufactured a boogeyman with their distorted ideas of critical race theory and diversity programs to shore up their attacks on an imaginary "woke" enemy. This assault on education harkens back to the days of McCarthyism, as "wokeness" becomes a label applied to any and all opponents of the GOP.