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Monday, April 22, 2024

DeSantis to defund diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives at Florida universities

UF student attests to ‘woke-ism’ on campus

FILE - Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks after being sworn in to begin his second term during an inauguration ceremony outside the Old Capitol on Jan. 3, 2023, in Tallahassee, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File)
FILE - Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks after being sworn in to begin his second term during an inauguration ceremony outside the Old Capitol on Jan. 3, 2023, in Tallahassee, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File)

Gov. Ron DeSantis announced he will completely defund diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives at Florida universities during a press conference Tuesday morning.

DeSantis addressed what he called “DEI bureaucracies,” or departments within universities that promote diversity, equality and inclusion, which he said impose a liberal agenda on university students and faculty.

“These bureaucracies are hostile to academic freedom, and really they constitute a drain on resources and end up contributing to higher costs,” he said.

The announcement comes two weeks after Florida universities reported all DEI and critical race theory spending to DeSantis per a December memo. A full list of what UF and other schools reported is available here. According to the report, UF’s DEI funding amounts to 0.14% of its annual budget.

UF hasn’t returned a request for comment as of Tuesday afternoon.

UF sophomore Emily Sturge spoke at the press conference to attest to her experience. She has had professors tell her women have no rights, she said, and described classes as “how to be a leftist 101.”

“I’m proud to say that after two years of being on my college campus, I’m still a conservative, I still have faith in God,” she said. “I’ve survived the woke-ism at least for two years.”

Sturge, who’s an ambassador for far-right campus advocacy group Turning Point USA, according to her Instagram bio, said she’s been labeled a racist, xenophobe and misogynist for being a proud American.

“I am going to wear those names as a badge of honor, because they sound an awful like what the fake news media calls Gov. DeSantis” she said.

DeSantis also announced all students will be required to take core courses in the history and philosophy of western civilization, he said.

“We don’t want students to go through at taxpayer expense and graduate with a degree in Zombie studies,” he said.

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Tenured faculty will undergo a review every five years and may be let go if they are not performing to standards, DeSantis said. University trustees and the president may call for a post-tenure review of a faculty member at any given time, he added.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates. 

Contact Alissa at agary@alligator.org. Follow her on Twitter @AlissaGary1.

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Alissa Gary

Alissa is a sophomore journalism major and University Editor at The Alligator. She has previously covered student government, university administration and K-12 education. In her free time, she enjoys showing photos of her cats to strangers.


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