Photo Credit: Gershon Elinson/Flash90
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis shakes hands with Gush Eztion Council Head Shlomo Neeman, May 29, 2019.

Florida’s State Board of Education on Wednesday voted to ban spending on diversity, equity, and inclusion programs at 28 state colleges.

On December 4, 2023, Prof. Alan Dershowitz said in an op-ed published by The Hill (Campus antisemitism has become systemic due to ‘diversity, equity and inclusion’):

“The multibillion-dollar DEI bureaucracy has become a central contributor to anti-Jewish attitudes on campuses. The effect, if not the intent, of this ideological bureaucracy is to marginalize Jews.
“The first component of DEI is diversity, but its definition of diversity is limited to skin color and other aspects of identity politics. It explicitly excludes diversity of opinions, ideas, and ideology. The effect is the university looks more diverse, but actually is less diverse in the most important aspect of education, namely ideas. This genre of diversity lowers the number of Jewish students and faculty.
“Jews do not conform to diversity in terms of identity politics, even if they do for other aspects of diversity. In fact, the number and percentage of Jews at top-tier universities have declined since the introduction of DEI.”

The Florida Department of Education issued a press release stating (State Board of Education Passes Rule to Permanently Prohibit DEI in the Florida College System):

“Today, the State Board of Education implemented strict regulations to limit the use of public funds for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) programs, activities, and policies in the Florida College System (FCS). The rule adopted by the Board defines, for the first time, DEI, and affirmatively prohibits FCS institutions from using state or federal funds to administer programs that categorize individuals based on race or sex for the purpose of differential or preferential treatment.
“The Board’s decision will ensure that taxpayer funds can no longer be used to promote DEI on Florida’s 28 state college campuses.
“The State Board of Education also replaced the course ‘Principles of Sociology’ with a comprehensive general education core course in 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.”

Florida’s Commissioner of Education, Manny Diaz, Jr., a former state Republican lawmaker, said, “Higher education must return to its essential foundations of academic integrity and the pursuit of knowledge instead of being corrupted by destructive ideologies. These actions today ensure that we will not spend taxpayers’ money supporting DEI and radical indoctrination that promotes division in our society.”

The press release concluded: “Florida remains committed to providing our students with a world-class education rooted in the pursuit of truth, rather than biased indoctrination, which is why the state’s higher education system has been ranked #1 in the nation for seven consecutive years by the US News & World Report.”

On November 9, 2023, the Florida Board of Governors voted to remove the “Principles of Sociology” from the core curriculum of the state’s public colleges, and students can no longer take it to fulfill their general education requirements.

According to Inside Higher Education, “The news shocked sociology professors across the state, who say the ripple effects of such a decision could be disastrous.”

Opponents of this decision argued that the specific course is being singled out due to its inclusion of discussions on race, gender, and sexual orientation—subjects that have faced strong opposition and, in certain instances, have been prohibited by conservative politicians both in Florida and elsewhere.

A recent example was the removal of gender studies as a major at the New College of Florida, a move that was championed by Christopher Rufo, a conservative trustee. Rufo has similarly led efforts against the sociology department at Florida State University.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has consistently expressed his opposition to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiatives, a stance evident in his actions last year when he spearheaded significant legislative changes in higher education, affecting areas like DEI spending and tenure. In anticipation of his presidential campaign, DeSantis further solidified his position by appointing conservatives to the New College of Florida Board of Trustees. Subsequently, these appointees moved to eliminate both the college’s DEI office and the gender studies program.


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