DeSantis Signs Legislation Blocking DEI ‘Better Viewed’ as ‘Discrimination, Exclusion, and Indoctrination’

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Florida Governor Ron DeSantis recognizes that to change the trajectory of the country, you have to start at the local and state levels. 

In January, the Republican governor got to work on weeding out what he refers to as programs that aim to divide people. 

He appointed a new board of trustees at the New College of Florida, which included Christopher Rufo, an outspoken critic of critical race theory. 

Yesterday, DeSantis signed Senate Bill 266 to eliminate diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in higher education. 

The bill blocks certain topics from being discussed in required, lower-level general education courses. 

It also increases the scope of hiring and firing powers of university boards and presidents and limits protections for tenured faculty. 

Spending on DEI programs will be limited to only what is required by accreditors. 

“The courses cannot ‘distort significant historical events or include a curriculum that teaches identity politics … or is based on theories that systemic racism, sexism, oppression, and privilege are inherent in the institution of the United States and were made to maintain social, political, and economic inequities.’”

According to the Daily Caller:

Senate Bill 266 was approved by the state legislators on May 3 to bar public colleges and universities from spending taxpayer dollars on DEI programs. Monday’s bill signing fulfills a promise DeSantis made in January to defund DEI on college campuses.

Republican state Rep. Alex Andrade sponsored the bill arguing that DEI programs and initiatives do nothing to benefit students or educational institutions.

“DEI’s intellectual fragility makes campuses less safe, less intelligent and less free for the students who should be learning to think for themselves,” he said.

Colleges and universities were traditionally about preparing students for success in life; places where one learned to think critically, ask questions, and communicate and debate ideas.

DeSantis spoke to a group during a press conference held at New College of Florida where he signed SB266.

“What this does is reorient our universities back to their traditional mission and part of that traditional mission is to treat people as individuals, not to try to divvy them up based on any type of superficial characteristics,” the governor said.

“We’re going to elevate merit and achievement above identification with certain groups.”

“DEI is better viewed as standing for ‘discrimination, exclusion, and indoctrination,’ and that has no place in our public institutions,” DeSantis continued.

“This bill says the whole experiment with DEI is coming to an end in the state of Florida. We are eliminating the DEI programs. We are going to treat people as individuals. We’re not going to treat people as members of groups.”

“If you want to do things like gender ideology, go to Berkeley, some of these other places, that’s fine,” DeSantis said on Monday.

“If that’s what you want to do there’s nothing wrong with that … but for us, our tax dollars, we want to focus on the classical mission of what a university is supposed to be.”

The topics restricted by the bill for gen ed classes can be included in higher education courses but will be subject to review by the Board of Governors for universities or the State Board of Education for colleges.

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