Florida bill seeks to ban woke diversity, equity and inclusion programs in higher education

Florida House Bill 999: Public Postsecondary Educational Institutions is seeking to ban woke leftist diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) programs in college and university curriculums across the state and has the backing of Governor Ron DeSantis.

(Video Credit: WPLG Local 10)

The bill aligns with DeSantis’ agenda to eliminate DEI programs wherever possible in the educational system and in government bodies in the Sunshine State. The bill has advanced in the state House.

The legislation was sponsored by state Rep. Alex Andrade. It was approved along a 12-5 party-line vote by the House Postsecondary Education and Workforce Subcommittee on Monday, according to Fox News.

The bill will advance for discussion before the state Senate later this week.

During the House subcommittee hearing Monday, over 150 people showed up to oppose the legislation. Andrade told everyone that the bill would not limit student activities.

“I believe that state universities should be focused on teaching students how to think, not what to think,” he stated, according to FloridaPolitics.com.

DeSantis considers DEI programs a drain on resources that force faculty and students to comply with a far-left political agenda, according to the Orlando Sun-Sentinel.

According to Fox News, “The governor’s budget chief recently conducted a survey of the state’s 12 universities that found a combined $34.5 million went toward DEI programs and faculty. About $20.7 million came from the state, representing less than 1% of those universities’ budgets.”

“And so that clearly has no place in American institutions,” DeSantis commented at a DNI roundtable. “It’s more something you would expect to see in like the CCP [Chinese Communist Party].”

The bill mandates that the Board of Governors periodically review specified information in regard to state universities to ensure a “curriculum that promotes citizenship in a constitutional republic” and that “state’s existing and emerging workforce needs.”

When the review is completed, the board may “provide direction to each constituent university to remove from its programs any major or minor that is based on or otherwise utilizes pedagogical methodology associated with Critical Theory, including, but not limited to, Critical Race Theory, Critical Race Studies, Critical Ethnic Studies, Radical Feminist Theory, Radical Gender Theory, Queer Theory, Critical Social Justice, or Intersectionality, as defined in Board of Governors regulation.”

The proffered legislation contends that state colleges should “model civic discourse that recognized the importance of viewpoint diversity, intellectual rigor, and an evidence-based approach to history.”

The bill states that any Florida college system, institution, state university, or directly supported organization may not expend any state or federal funds to promote, support, or maintain any programs or campus activities “that advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion,” “promote or engage in political activism,” or espouse “preferential treatment or special benefits to individuals on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, or religion.”

The legislation also says that a state university may not solicit or accept pledges to uphold statements or commitments “for or against certain viewpoints about diversity, equity, and inclusion, Critical Race Theory rhetoric, or political identity or ideology, as part of any hiring, promotion, disciplinary, or evaluation process.”

Those criticizing the bill argue that the legislation would squelch academic freedom and the First Amendment rights of both students and faculty.

“It is no different from the Republican Party’s censorship of diversity, equity, and inclusion,” Alexis Dorman, who is a student at Florida State University and whose grandmother is from Taiwan, declared according to the Sentinel. “Legislators who vote for this are fearful of the power of knowledge and no better than the CCP.”

State Sen. Shevrin Jones (D) outrageously told Jasmine Burney-Clark, a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha and a founder of Equal Ground Florida, in an Instagram live ahead of Monday’s debate in the House that the bill is “so vague that HBCUs or other institutions period who have a black fraternities and sororities on their campuses can practically say we will no longer be supporting you on our campuses based off of this law.”

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