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Saturday, April 13, 2024
Opinions generic
Opinions generic

We, the student body officer-elects of UF, are writing with concern and disappointment regarding the recent decision to close the Office of the Chief Diversity Officer and to eliminate various diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) positions and appointments. 

This decision strikes at the very heart of our values as a university and as students. The Gator nation has often prided itself on being welcoming to students from all walks of life, and celebrated its commitment to “diversity of thought.” We firmly believe this decision does not reflect this sentiment. 

As representatives of the student body, this administration stands unwaveringly in support of diversity, equity and inclusion. We will do everything in our power to protect students’ right to belong and make their voices heard. 

While we understand this decision was not UF administration’s to make, we stand in strong opposition to anti-DEI policies and regulations implemented and enforced by the state and the Florida Board of Governors. An inclusive university is not only about the policies we enact; it’s about the message we send to our current and future students, faculty and staff. The message should be clear: the Gator nation is a place where diversity, equity and inclusion ought to be protected.

In the face of this setback, we are grateful for the protections afforded to us as students: student organizations, and our voices, are protected. We can continue to stand for what we believe. We can fight for the values that we know this university and its students hold to be true. 

Our final message to the Gator nation is this: we will fight this together, as students, as Gators and as your elected officials. Diversity, equity, and inclusion is not toxic and we will not let it be erased. Be proud that you are a Gator, speak your mind and stand with us in this fight. 

John Brinkman is the student body president-elect, Laura Thomas is the student body vice president-elect and Saketh Damera is the student body treasurer-elect.

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