Florida Leads In Eliminating University DEI Programs

The University of Florida has taken the lead in the Sunshine State by terminating all positions related to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in compliance with new state legislation. This significant shift reassigns approximately $5 million, previously earmarked for DEI endeavors, to enhancing faculty recruitment, signaling a new direction in university funding priorities.

The legislation, championed by Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), restricts state colleges from utilizing state or federal resources for DEI programs. DeSantis, an outspoken critic of what he perceives as divisive educational policies, lauded the university’s compliance. “DEI is toxic and has no place in our public universities. I’m glad that Florida was the first state to eliminate DEI and I hope more states follow suit,” DeSantis said this week.

This measure is part of DeSantis’ broader agenda to reform educational content and priorities, emphasizing traditional academic values over what he and many conservatives consider politicized or ideologically driven programs. Such reforms include curtailing the instruction of certain adult-themed topics to young students and prohibiting specific Advanced Placement courses due to content disputes.

The conservative base in Florida and nationwide is celebrating the decision as a return to fundamental educational principles. The Manhattan Institute’s Christopher Rufo hailed the implementation of the new standards in Florida, stating it signifies the beginning of a “conservative counter-revolution” in education.

The restructuring follows regulations enacted by the Florida Board of Governors, which define DEI efforts as programs categorizing individuals based on race, gender, or other characteristics to promote differential treatment. This definition and the subsequent actions aim to streamline educational focuses and ensure taxpayer funds are not allocated to programs seen as fostering division rather than unity.

Critics of the DEI framework, such as Brandi Kruse, a conservative podcast host, argue that DEI initiatives have diverted from genuine progress toward inclusivity and diversity, becoming counterproductive. “DEI is a failed experiment that poisoned the real progress our country was making toward acceptance, inclusivity, and diversity,” Kruse stated, reflecting a sentiment shared by many conservatives who believe such programs exacerbate rather than alleviate societal divisions.

The University of Florida is eliminating 13 full-time positions and 15 administrative appointments. University employees who find their positions eliminated are being provided with a severance package and preferential placement in consideration for other university roles.

Manny Diaz Jr., Florida Commissioner of Education, said this week that the rule aims to safeguard academic integrity by discarding “destructive ideologies” in favor of foundational educational values. 

 

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  • PT
    March 3, 2024
    Paul Tagliaferri

    To paraphrase AC/DC… For Those About To Ditch DEI, We Salute You!

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