On Monday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed legislation banning the state’s public colleges and universities from spending money on diversity, equity, and inclusion programs.
Under the law, Florida state universities are banned from spending state or federal funds to promote, support, or maintain any programs that “advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion, or promote or engage in political or social activism.”
“If you look at the way this has actually been implemented across the country, DEI is better viewed as standing for discrimination, exclusion and indoctrination,” DeSantis said at a news conference in Sarasota. “And that has no place in our public institutions.”
DeSantis said that he’s viewed DEI initiatives as a discriminatory practice. “This bill says the whole experiment with DEI is coming to an end in the state of Florida. We are eliminating the DEI programs.”
The new law demands that general education courses “may not distort significant historical events or include a curriculum that teaches identity politics” based on “theories that systemic racism, sexism, oppression, and privilege are inherent in the institutions of the United States and were created to maintain social, political, and economic inequities.”
This latest move by DeSantis is a part of his war on what he calls “woke indoctrination” in schools. According to NPR, in the last two years, state education officials have rejected dozens of mathematics and social studies textbooks for students in K-12 schools.
DeSantis signed the legislation at the liberal arts New College of Florida, where he has been steering the university in a more conservative direction. Earlier this year, he replaced six members of the college’s board of trustees with conservative allies and accused the school’s leadership of overemphasizing DEI, critical race theory, and gender ideology, which he characterized as not “what a liberal arts education should be,” according to NPR.
Additionally, the law gives university presidents and boards of trustees more hiring power.
The law will go into effect on July 1.