Another attack on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) programs is underway. This time it comes from the Florida State Board of Education.
According to WPTV-5, “strict regulations” have been implemented to cut back on the use of public funds for DEI programs across 28 state college campuses.
Per the new rule, institutions under the Florida College System will not be allowed to use state or federal funds for programs that “categorize individuals based on race or sex for the purpose of differential or preferential treatment.”
Along with the new rule, the board has also replaced the “Principles of Sociology” course with one centered around American history.
“The aim is to provide students with an accurate and factual account of the nation’s past, rather than exposing them to radical woke ideologies, which had become commonplace in the now replaced course,” the Florida Department Of Education (FDOE) said in an official statement.
The announcement, which took place Wednesday (Jan. 17, 2024), comes just one year after current Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill into law that prevents state or federal spending on DEI programs across publicly funded colleges in the state.
Additionally, after asking the institutions to report how much money they spent on DEI in 2023, DeSantis shared that self-reports from the schools had shown spending of at least $34 million.
“Higher education must return to its essential foundations of academic integrity and the pursuit of knowledge instead of being corrupted by destructive ideologies,” Florida Commissioner of Education Manny Diaz Jr. said. “These actions today ensure that we will not spend taxpayers’ money supporting DEI and radical indoctrination that promotes division in our society.”
In response to the news, students have voiced their concerns that college campuses across the state will use the move to be unwelcoming to minorities seeking higher education.
Public advocacy group Equality Florida also issued a statement.
“There’s no surprise today that the State Board of Education, a board that has been a rubber stamp for Governor Ron DeSantis’s agenda of censorship and surveillance, moved forward with another sweepingly broad rule that abolishes diversity and inclusion programs in the Florida College System,” the nonprofit stated.
“The Board’s rules go well beyond what’s required by Governor DeSantis’s already extreme SB 266, handcuffing state colleges from using any state-funded resources on diversity programs that help recruit talented faculty, support students with unique needs, and help Florida’s colleges compete for national research and funding,” it continued. “This is a brazenly political attack on Florida’s colleges, and all minorities in Florida, and is one more way state agencies have been weaponized to support Governor DeSantis’s failing political ambitions. Shame on the State Board of Education for passing rules that weaken and threaten Florida’s colleges in service to one more manufactured culture war.”