DeSantis Signs Law Banning Diversity Programs at Public Colleges in Florida

“This can be a continuation of a nationwide agenda to whitewash historical past,” mentioned State Sen. Shevrin Jones.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) has signed laws into regulation that can defund variety, fairness, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives at Florida’s public faculties and permit the state to take away applications, majors and minors that educate “identification politics” or vital race concept.

“[These laws are] a part of a coordinated assault by partisan politicians on our proper to find out about systemic racism, sexism, oppression, and privilege in greater training,” said the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Florida.

The ACLU has noted that this laws will prohibit public faculties within the state from spending funds on actions, audio system, occasions and golf equipment that promote variety and inclusion. The obscure language of the regulation may endanger traditionally Black sororities and fraternities, in addition to veterans’ providers and scholar spiritual teams.

“It serves solely to undermine progress towards racial justice by eradicating necessary help for college students of shade and erasing their heritage from campuses and school rooms. This regulation will finally result in elevated racial bias,” said Leah Watson, senior workers legal professional with the ACLU Racial Justice Program.

Governor DeSantis signed the payments — SB 266 and HB 931 — on the New Faculty of Florida, a liberal arts college the place he overhauled the board of trustees after accusing the college’s management of overemphasizing DEI, vital race concept and “gender ideology.” For the reason that overhaul, New Faculty of Florida trustees have denied tenure to no less than 5 professors in an unprecedented transfer, and voted to abolish DEI applications on the college.

“The placement of the invoice’s signing can be not misplaced on anybody,” said Jerry Edwards, workers legal professional on the ACLU of Florida. “Up to now 12 months, Gov. DeSantis and the state legislature have spent hundreds of thousands of {dollars} to distort New Faculty into an establishment that undermines educational freedom … The modifications carried out on the behest of the governor at New Faculty are a cautionary story, not a hit story.”

The signing of SB 266 and HB 931 into regulation alerts to educational freedom advocates that DeSantis plans to “construct on the state’s already right-wing method to major training,” as Eleanor J. Bader wrote for Truthout final month.

Increased training staff have been elevating the alarm about DeSantis’s assaults on educational freedom for months. His administration has instituted a “Don’t Say Homosexual” regulation banning dialogue on gender and sexuality in Ok-3 school rooms and is at the moment transferring to develop the ban by way of grade 12. Whereas the proposal has not but been handed, no less than one instructor is already beneath investigation for exhibiting fifth graders a Disney film that includes a homosexual character.

DeSantis’s administration has additionally made headlines for rejecting an Superior Placement (AP) Black research course and for banning “vital race concept” — strikes that racial justice and training advocates have condemned as “proto-fascism.”

“This can be a continuation of a nationwide agenda to whitewash historical past, all as a result of we don’t need white kids to really feel uncomfortable about true Black historical past?” said state Sen. Shevrin Jones (D).

DeSantis’s assaults on training have additionally led the Florida Division of Training to reject 35 p.c of social research textbooks that have been submitted for classroom use. The division additionally removed references to the police homicide of George Floyd and the Motion for Black Lives from textbooks, and made edits to sections of books that referenced the Holocaust.

“Governor DeSantis’s signing of SB 266 into regulation at present has deeply troubling implications for the way forward for greater training in Florida. DEI initiatives and actions make the state’s school campuses extra productive, welcoming, and equitable,” said Charles McLaurin, senior counsel on the Authorized Protection Fund. “By concentrating on them, Gov. DeSantis and the Florida Legislature have put college students and educators of shade at a stark disservice in accessing training.”

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