DeSantis Bans What From Florida Universities?

Gage Skidmore from Surprise, AZ, United States of America, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

( – On Wednesday, the governing body of Florida’s 12 state universities, in a move resonating with a law endorsed by Governor Ron DeSantis last spring, decided to prohibit the utilization of state or federal funds for diversity-focused programs and activities. This decision aligns with the wider Republican initiative across the nation that scrutinizes diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts in higher education institutions. Furthermore, the law also disallows the use of tax money for sponsoring “political or social activism,” although it permits student fees for these purposes.

Alan Levine, the vice chair of the board, clarified that this action does not equate to a ban on student organizations. The newly enacted law specifically forbids the allocation of taxpayer funds for programs that encourage preferential treatment based on race, color, sex, national origin, gender identity, or sexual orientation. It also restricts educational content that suggests systemic racism, sexism, oppression, and privilege are embedded in the foundations of the United States, thereby maintaining social, political, and economic disparities.

In a similar vein, the state Board of Education recently implemented a comparable policy for Florida’s 28 smaller colleges. Both boards have decided to replace sociology as a core educational requirement with a U.S. history class, reflecting a conservative educational focus.

Tim Cerio, a member of the Board of Governors, emphasized that sociology is not being eliminated but simply removed as a mandatory course. If there’s student interest in sociology, it will be accommodated. The state’s Education Department described this change as a step towards providing students with a more factual account of American history, steering clear of what they term as “radical woke ideologies.”

This law effectively blocks public universities from directing state or federal funds towards DEI programs or campus activities that support diverse political or social ideologies. Governor DeSantis, who recently paused his presidential campaign, signed the DEI law, asserting that these programs often serve as a facade for promoting a liberal agenda on college campuses. He labeled this as an inappropriate ideological imposition.

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