Florida bans state, federal funding for DEI at public colleges

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Florida bans state, federal funding for DEI at public colleges

Florida's Board of Education permanently banned the use of taxpayer funding Wednesday for DEI at public colleges, based on SB 266 which was signed into law by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis last May. File photo by Peter Foley/UPI

Florida’s Board of Education permanently banned the use of taxpayer funding Wednesday for DEI at public colleges, based on SB 266 which was signed into law by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis last May. File photo by Peter Foley/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 17 (UPI) — Florida’s Board of Education announced a new rule Wednesday “to permanently prohibit” the use of state or federal funds for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion programs or activities at public colleges throughout the state.

The new rule applies to 28 schools within the Florida College System, including Seminole State College of Florida, Valencia College, Florida State College at Jacksonville and others that serve large populations of Black and Latino students.

“Higher education must return to its essential foundations of academic integrity and the pursuit of knowledge instead of being corrupted by destructive ideologies,” Florida Commissioner of Education Manny Diaz Jr. said in a statement.

“These actions today ensure that we will not spend taxpayers’ money supporting DEI and radical indoctrination that promotes division in our society,” Diaz added.

Florida’s Board of Education defines DEI as “any program, campus activity or policy that classifies individuals on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, gender identity or sexual orientation and promotes differential or preferential treatment of individuals on the basis of such classification.”

DEI professionals define DEI as correcting inequities within an organization for marginalized groups.

“The Florida State Board of Education has implemented new ‘strict regulations’ to prohibit the use of public funds for DEI programs, activities and policies at 28 state college campuses,” civil rights activist and attorney Ben Crump wrote Wednesday in a post on X. “We continue to go down a misguided path of censorship in Florida!”

The new regulations are based on S.B. 266, which was passed in May 2023 by Florida’s state legislature and signed into law by Gov. Ron DeSantis, who called DEI programs “discriminatory initiatives.”

On Wednesday, Florida’s Board of Education also announced it would replace the course “Principles of Sociology” with a comprehensive general education course on American history.

“The aim is to provide students with an accurate and factual account of the nation’s past, rather than exposing them to radical woke ideologies, which had become commonplace in the now-replaced course,” the board said.

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