Florida is eliminating Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives in higher education, which Gov. Ron DeSantis said have been used as a “veneer to impose an ideological agenda” in universities.
DeSantis is signing Senate Bill 266, which specifies that Florida institutes of higher education can not use state or federal funds to promote DEI initiatives:
A Florida College System institution, state university, Florida College System institution direct-support organization, or state university direct-support organization may not expend any state or federal funds to promote, support, or maintain any programs or campus activities…[that] advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion, or promote or engage in political or social activism, as defined by rules of the State Board of Education and regulations of the Board of Governors.
DeSantis explained that the bill will effectively “reorient our universities back to their traditional missions,” which is to treat people as individuals and elevate merit over superficial characteristics promoted by the radical left.
“In order to do that, we had to look at this new concept, relatively new concept, called diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). And I didn’t know much. I mean, this is something relatively recent,” DeSantis said, pointing out that it really took off after the summer of BLM rioting.
“When I see diversity, I think like, you know, different viewpoints [and] have a robust academic discussion in the university,” he said, explaining that DEI is not that at all.
“It’s an attempt to impose orthodoxy on the university and not even necessarily in the classroom, but through the administrative apparatus of the university itself,” the governor explained, adding that DEI has been used “as a veneer to impose an ideological agenda.”
“That is wrong,” he said, adding that DEI has actually had the opposite effect, promoting discrimination, exclusion and indoctrination in its implementation.
“That has no place in our public institutions,” he added.
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Chris Rufo, a conservative activist and Manhattan Institute senior fellow perhaps best known for taking on Critical Race Theory (CRT), addressed critics, explaining that the legislation will put “the pursuit of knowledge and truth — not political activism — back to the center of higher education in Florida.”
“What you’ll hear from the media, what you’ll hear from maybe the protesters is that somehow this is destroying democracy. … But in fact, they have it exactly backwards. This is about restoring democracy,” he explained, adding:
The basic premise of this legislation is that our public institutions should reflect the values of the public — it’s that Florida’s farmers and waitresses and truck drivers should not be subsidizing a pure permanent bureaucracy of left-wing activists who hate them, and hate their values.
The signing of the legislation comes months after DeSantis announced plans to tackle the issues of DEI and CRT bureaucracies in university systems.
WATCH the full press conference below:
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