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Governor DeSantis’ “vision” for education leads to major changes at UF as university adjusts to state regulations


Florida – The University of Florida has announced the removal of its diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) staff and programs. This decision comes as a direct response to new state regulations and laws that restrict public colleges from funding DEI initiatives with taxpayer dollars.

Adapting to New Regulations

The University of Florida’s administration, adhering to the newly implemented rule, has terminated its DEI positions and administrative appointments. Furthermore, contracts with vendors focused on DEI efforts have been terminated. This action complies with a law that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed last year that prohibits the use of state funds for DEI activities in public higher education institutions. Governor DeSantis has publicly commended the university for discontinuing what he described as a “toxic” DEI program, sharing his approval through a post on X.

The Florida Board of Education, reinforcing the state’s stance in January, introduced stringent regulations on the Florida College System regarding DEI funding. The Board criticized DEI programs for categorizing individuals based on race or sex for differential or preferential treatment, thereby signaling a profound shift in how educational institutions should approach diversity and inclusion.

Governor DeSantis' “vision” for education leads to major changes at UF as university adjusts to state regulations

In response, the University of Florida’s leadership issued a memo detailing the closure of its Office of the Chief Diversity Officer, the elimination of specific DEI roles, and the cessation of DEI-focused third-party contracts. Affected university employees are being offered a standard twelve weeks of severance pay and the opportunity for expedited consideration for other positions within the university.

Check also: Florida state universities officially prohibited to spend on diversity, equity and inclusion programs and policies, rules spark public debate

The memo also mentioned the reallocation of approximately $5 million, previously dedicated to DEI salaries and expenses, towards a faculty retirement fund. Despite these changes, the University of Florida maintains its commitment to “universal human dignity,” emphasizing the importance of engaging with a broad spectrum of ideas and fostering a community based on trust and respect.

Florida Commissioner of Education Manny Diaz Jr., at the announcement of the new rule, articulated a vision for higher education that prioritizes academic integrity over what he termed “radical indoctrination” that promotes societal division. He advocated for a return to the foundational principles of higher education, away from ideologies he perceives as destructive.

This policy adjustment by the University of Florida, in line with state law, marks a pivotal moment for the institution and sets a precedent that will impact 28 state schools across Florida. It reflects broader national debates over the role of DEI in education and the use of public funds to support such initiatives.

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