DeSantis targets ‘diversity, equity, and inclusion’ funding in public universities

The governor’s office is working to 'eliminate all DEI and CRT bureaucracies in the state of Florida' with the intention that the programs 'wither on the vine.'

DeSantis targets ‘diversity, equity, and inclusion’ funding in public universities
AP Photo/Marta Lavandier, File
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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced on Tuesday that the state of Florida would scrap diversity, equity, and inclusion funding from public universities and increase scrutiny toward underperforming professors.

The governor’s office is working to “eliminate all DEI and CRT bureaucracies in the state of Florida” with the intention that the programs “wither on the vine.”

DeSantis noted the compelled speech and political pressure that emerges under the auspices of diversity programs, saying “It really serves as an ideological filter.”

“We probably are the first state that’s actually leading by example, but I can tell you those bureaucracies are not representative of what the people of this state and the taxpayers of this state want,” he said.

The move follows DeSantis' request that public university administrators provide a detailed account of their expenditures related to DEI initiatives. He added that “DEI bureaucracies” are “hostile to academic freedom” and “constitute a drain on resources.”

An analysis from the Heritage Foundation found that colleges hire an average of three diversity staffers for every 100 tenured faculty and that consultants and university officials often reap significant financial returns from their promotion to the DEI movement.

DeSantis also announced further “accountability for tenured faculty” by granting university presidents and trustees “the power to call a post-tenure review at any time,” as mandated by previous legislation he signed.

The governor said, “The most significant deadweight cost at universities is typically unproductive tenured faculty. Why would we want to saddle you as taxpayers with that cost if we do not have to?”

DeSantis has appointed a number of conservative officials to the New College of Florida Board of Trustees with the hope that the public liberal arts school would likewise eliminate controversial ideologies.

The Sarasota Herald-Tribune reported:

DeSantis announced during an event in Bradenton that he wants $15 million "immediately" for faculty recruitment and scholarships at New College, with $10 million of that being recurring funds every year.

The announcement indicates the governor is prepared to put significant funding behind his transformation of New College, which began earlier this month when he appointed six new board members. The governor's funding plan came a few hours before New College's first Board of Trustees meeting since DeSantis reshaped the board.

This move is in line with his call to promote curricula that emphasize the values and philosophy of Western civilization, and to offer training courses for nurses, truck drivers, and other professions with shortages in the state and national economies.

He commented, “You see the growth of administrative bloat around the country with higher education, and it dwarfs what they are spending on people who actually teach our students. They are not really improving the academic performance. They are expanding bureaucrats and administrative staff and trying to impose an agenda through that way. That is a failed model, and we want to make sure that’s not what’s happening here in the state of Florida.”

DeSantis has also sounded the alarm over the College Board’s forthcoming AP African American Studies curriculum, which the Florida Department of Education blasted as “contrary to Florida law and significantly lacks educational value,” the Daily Wire reported.

The Department called on the College Board to make the content “historically accurate.” Gov. DeSantis’ actions in Florida reflect a broader national trend toward eliminating DEI funding in postsecondary institutions and scrutinizing professors’ performance.

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