By Ryan Dailey, The News Service of Florida
TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday rolled out a slate of higher-education proposals that included eliminating spending on diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives, a move the governor said would lead such programs to “wither on the vine.”
DeSantis also announced proposals involving the frequency of post-tenure reviews for faculty members and the state setting new “core course requirements” at colleges and universities.
DeSantis’ announcement came weeks after his administration directed leaders of the college and university systems to collect information from schools about diversity, equity and inclusion-related expenditures.
During an appearance Tuesday at State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota in Bradenton, DeSantis criticized what he called “DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) bureaucracies.”
“This is basically a component of the administration within universities that are imposing a political agenda, sometimes things like critical race theory,” DeSantis said. “The bureaucracies are hostile to academic freedom, and really they constitute a drain on resources and end up contributing, certainly around the country, to higher costs as the bureaucracies metastasize.”
After his administration directed collection of the information, the state released a report about expenditures related to diversity, equity and inclusion. The report outlined some universities spending millions of dollars on programs and staff positions, in some cases with much of that funding coming from the state. Some universities also listed specific courses that involve diversity, equity and inclusion concepts.
With DeSantis’ proposal Tuesday, the Republican-dominated Legislature could put such expenditures in the crosshairs during the legislative session that will start in March.
“No funding, and that will wither on the vine. And I think that that’s very important because it really serves as an ideological filter, a political filter,” DeSantis said, adding that he plans to try to prohibit universities from requiring prospective employees to sign diversity, equity and inclusion statements.
Andrew Gothard, president of the United Faculty of Florida union, slammed the governor’s proposal.
“The words themselves, ‘diversity, equity, and inclusion,’ show that these programs are not just about race; they are about ensuring that everyone has fair and equal access to Florida’s higher education classrooms,” Gothard said in a statement provided to The News Service of Florida.
Rep. Anna Eskamani, D-Orlando, also criticized the governor’s plan.
“Diversity, equity and inclusivity programs will also include disability and accessibility services — I guess DeSantis wants to abolish those too,” Eskamani said in a Twitter post.
DeSantis also touted proposed legislation that would allow college and university officials to have more control over reviewing faculty members’ tenure.
Under a controversial measure passed last year, university faculty members are required to undergo a “comprehensive post-tenure review” every five years. DeSantis’ announcement Tuesday suggested the governor wants to give power to university trustees and presidents to perform the reviews more often.
DeSantis said schools might need to do reviews “more aggressively” than every five years.
“I’ve talked with folks around the country who have been involved in higher-ed reform, and the most significant dead-weight cost at universities is typically unproductive tenured faculty. So, why would we want to saddle you as taxpayers with that cost if we don’t have to do that?” DeSantis said.
Another prong of the governor’s proposals would deal with academic content. An infographic released by the governor’s office said the proposal would “specify standards and content for general education core course requirements to ensure higher education is rooted in the values of liberty and the western tradition.”
University system Chancellor Ray Rodrigues, a former state senator who joined DeSantis at Tuesday’s appearance, backed the proposal.
“We will be focused on academic excellence at all of our institutions. We pursue the goal of education, and we reject indoctrination,” Rodrigues said.
Gothard, however, called the proposal dealing with classroom instruction part of an effort to “curtail speech, belief and association” on campuses.
“Florida’s students and families don’t need their government to tell them which classes they can take, which degrees they can complete, or what kinds of campus activities they can engage in,” Gothard said. “The constitutional rights promised to all Americans do not come with an asterisk that says ‘unless Gov. DeSantis disagrees with you.’”
Meanwhile, as the governor prepares to release his 2023-2024 state budget recommendations, he said he plans to ask the Legislature to approve $100 million to recruit new faculty at universities.
More profound words never spoken… I believe you have written the new city motto.
“Dailey enables the metastasizing of cronyism and corruption.”
Mayor John Dailey’s former Cief of Staff, Thomas Whitley, appointed to Dir of Office of Strategic Innovation…$130,000 pay raise.. So much diversity, equity and inclusion there as Dailey enables the metastasizing of cronyism and corruption.
Mr Pat A
You nailed it!…”the consequences of “identity politics” is clear.”
The race card, global warming, climate change, the ozone layer, abortions, election fraud, scamdemics, identity politics, and personal insults don’t work anymore…so passe.
doesn’t Desantis realize that NO ONE in history has victorious with censorship, and no one has been looked a favorably over time … I guess he wants to be remembered as the second rate baseball player that was …
@ Pat… agreed. Notwithstanding the tragedy of Nichols’ death, I knew from the jump that there was more to this than meets the eye. I wonder what the Memphis police chief’s cut of the payout will be. Word is, the 5 officers weren’t even hired by the police department, but rather via the city commission under the premise of DEI and altered hiring standard.
As always, the difference between a conspiracy theory and the truth, is about 6-months. More to come on this one to be sure.
Did Tyre Nichols’ parents vote for the Memphis mayor and the rest of the 100% Democratic Party elected officials?
The US Transportation Secretary was placed in this position because he is gay and somehow the Democratic Party thinks that makes him qualified.
Kamala, a homewrecker, has been her major contribution to society.
Biden bringing home top secret classified information so they could review their treasonous path to fortunes and to destroy the country. Make no doubt about it, it is treason and they will have consequences through the proper channels.
And our local educational system Rocky’s days are numbered.
Days of reckoning, shake-ups, ousters, and criminal prosecutions will undo this nightmare.
If Tallahassee doesn’t get their crime under control and continues to ignore it and continues to misuse taxpayer dollars for their re-election campaigns hopefully the legislature will vote to get these perpetrators ousted.
@Lyle, the factors behind the events in Memphis haven’t received much press. In a City that is largley black, with a black mayor, a black police chief with lots of black cops the consequences of “identity politics” is clear. When the most important qualification of an applicant is race or sexual preferrence, you end up with problems. Problems like a gay small town mayor that failed in his job and the air traffic system gets shutdown. When above all, the cop has to be black, you end up with thugs, with badges, beating the $–t out of a citizen. The Memphis police chief was previously fired from her job as Atlanta police chief.
If Philip thinks Ron is a fascist twit, the governor is over the target. Bombs away!
Go Governor DeSantis. This DEI acronym should actually be DIE, as no longer the most qualified candidate is considered. Look at the City of Tallahassee’s Dept of Equity & Inclusion, not a lot of “diversity” for Asian or Hispanic folks in that department and those people get paid pretty well for doing nothing for city taxpayers.
Keep in mind that it was the application of DEI in hiring that lead to the tragic death of Tyre Nichols, men beating up on girls in women’s sports, perverts showering with your daughters, a weak and woke military, queer indoctrination of our children in public schools, man bun’ers that can’t handle an 8-hour work shift, and the entire incompetent Biden Sadministration, et al…
DeSantis is a fascist twit.