(The Hill) — The Florida Board of Governors voted late Wednesday to keep public universities from using government funds for diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives.
The vote is the latest move in the state’s crackdown on diversity programs in schools.
This means campus activities, programs, clubs and faculty recruitment that support DEI can’t use any federal funding to do so, according to WMFE, a local radio station that first reported the vote.
In May, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signed a bill into law, the “Stop Woke Act,” that defunded DEI initiatives on campuses, claiming they exclude some students.
DeSantis said DEI efforts were an attempt to “impose an ideological agenda” on students and faculty and promote “exclusion” and “discrimination.” He said students who wanted to study gender ideology, for example, should go to schools in other states, such as the University of California, Berkeley.
Those in opposition to the bill say it will further marginalize students of color and LGBTQ students.
The policy states that a school would support DEI and violate the law if it were to create or engage in a program, policy or activity that “advantages or disadvantages, or attempts to advantage or disadvantage an individual or group on the basis of color, sex, national origin, gender identity, or sexual orientation, to equalize or increase outcomes, participation or representation as compared to other individuals or groups.”
Schools can’t promote that a group or individual is “inherently, unconsciously, or implicitly” biased due to color, sex, national origin, gender identity or sexual orientation.
If a program is required by the state or federal law for accreditation — or when a school uses private funds — there are some exceptions.
Programs that are intended to help first-generation college students and nontraditional students, students from low-income families, students with disabilities, students who transfer from community college and Pell Grant recipients are exempt from the law.
Universities must designate a group or individual to set up disciplinary procedures around the new policy and enforce compliance on campus.