Florida Governor Ron DeSantis on Monday signed legislation to eliminate diversity, equity and inclusion programs at all state universities, which he called a “distraction from the core mission.”
“It is better seen as standing for discrimination, exclusion and indoctrination, and that has no place in our public institutions,” DeSantis said in a press conference in Sarasota.
“If you want to do things like gender ideology, go to (University of California) Berkeley,” DeSantis added. “There’s nothing wrong with that, per se, but for us with our tax dollars, we want to focus on the classical mission of what a university is.”
Under the law, Florida state universities are prohibited from spending state or federal funds to promote, support or maintain any programs that “promote diversity, equity, and inclusion, or promote or engage in political or social activism.”
“What this does is reorient our universities back to their traditional mission and part of the traditional mission is to treat people as individuals, not try to divide them based on any kind of superficial characteristics. ,” said DeSantis.
The law also requires that general education courses “may not distort significant historical events or include a curriculum that teaches identity politics” based on “theories that systemic racism, sexism, oppression, and privilege are inherent in the institutions of the United States and are designed to maintain social, political, and economic inequality.”
DeSantis signed legislation at the liberal arts New College of Florida, where he oversaw a conservative takeover. Earlier this year, DeSantis replaced six members of the college’s board of trustees with conservative allies.
In addition, the law gives university presidents and boards of trustees more hiring power.
“They are more accountable to the people of Florida that they are using our tax dollars,” DeSantis said. “It’s easier to make changes when they fail in their mission.”
Downplaying the college protests, DeSantis said he was “a little disappointed” by the turn out.
“I was hoping for more,” DeSantis said. “It’s all good.”