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Tipsheet

DeSantis Signs Bill Curtailing Diversity Programs at Public Colleges

AP Photo/Phil Sears

This week, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signed a bill into law to curtail spending on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) programs at the state’s public colleges.

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The law, S.B. 266, prohibits public colleges from using federal or state funds on diversity programs, which DeSantis described as “discriminatory initiatives” that divide students. 

“Florida has ranked number one in higher education for seven years in a row, and by signing this legislation we are ensuring that Florida’s institutions encourage diversity of thought, civil discourse, and the pursuit of truth for generations to come,” DeSantis said in a statement. “Florida is taking a stand for empowering students, parents, and educators to focus on creating opportunities for our younger generations. I am happy to have worked with the legislature to get this important legislation signed, sealed, and delivered.”

In remarks at the bill signing, DeSantis said that college staffers feel like they “walk on eggshells” and “don’t have the freedom to speak their minds” on campuses. 

“For us, with our tax dollars, we want to focus on the classical mission on what a university is supposed to be. We don’t want to be diverted to a lot of these niche subjects that are heavily politicized. We want to focus on the basics,” DeSantis said.

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“Universities should be on the hook for the student loans,” he added, pointing out that many of the “woke” majors offered at colleges and universities do not make students employable after graduation.

“If that were the case, they [the schools] would make sure that their curriculum was really fit to be productive for the students when they graduated,” he explained. “We’re going to have traditional education. We want courses and majors that have high return on investment.” 

“Some of these niche subjects, like Critical Race Theory, other types of DEI-infused courses and majors – Florida’s getting out of that game. If you want to do things like gender ideology, go to Berkeley,” he said. 

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