X Close

Florida’s DEI purge takes new victim

Uni of Florida is the latest in a statewide battle against DEI. Credit: Getty

March 2, 2024 - 1:00pm

Florida’s clear-out of DEI has taken a new victim: the entire $5 million DEI department of the top public university in the US. 

The University of Florida is gutting its DEI department, firing all DEI employees and halting DEI-focused outside contracts, the school announced Friday. The programme’s funding will be diverted into other jobs, with the school cutting 13 full-time DEI jobs and 15 administrative appointments.

“The University of Florida is – and will always be – unwavering in our commitment to universal human dignity,” the announcement read. “As we educate students by thoughtfully engaging a wide range of ideas and views, we will continue to foster a community of trust and respect for every member of the Gator Nation”.

The move comes in response to a state regulation blocking university funding of DEI, defined as “any program, campus activity, or policy that classifies individuals on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, gender identity, or sexual orientation and promotes differential or preferential treatment of individuals on the basis of such classification.”

It’s the latest in a statewide battle against DEI. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed legislation banning DEI in public colleges and universities in May 2023. The same bill also blocks general education course curriculum that “teaches identity politics… or is based on theories that systemic racism, sexism, oppression, and privilege are inherent in the institutions of the United States”. 

UF was previously subject to national news coverage when former Republican Senator Ben Sasse took the helm as president in early 2023, sparking student protests. During his interview process, protesters flooded a university building and disrupted proceedings, shouting out accusations of racism and homophobia. 

DeSantis has also launched something of a conservative takeover of the New College of Florida, appointing six members to its 13-member board of trustees. The new board subsequently fired the school’s president and disbanded its Office of Outreach and Inclusive Excellence. 

Several other red states have recently passed laws restricting DEI in education, including Texas and Utah, while a handful of other conservative states are currently considering similar legislation. “DEI is toxic and has no place in our public universities,” DeSantis wrote on X Friday. “I’m glad that Florida was the first state to eliminate DEI and I hope more states follow suit.”


is UnHerd’s US correspondent.

laureldugg

Join the discussion


Join like minded readers that support our journalism by becoming a paid subscriber


To join the discussion in the comments, become a paid subscriber.

Join like minded readers that support our journalism, read unlimited articles and enjoy other subscriber-only benefits.

Subscribe
Subscribe
Notify of
guest

28 Comments
Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
4 months ago

“Victim”? The victims are the ones who resist the most overtly racist movement ever devised. Even slavery was an equal opportunity practice.

Mike Downing
Mike Downing
4 months ago

Great comment. I might just get that put a t-shirt.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
4 months ago

The use of that word surprised me as well.

El Uro
El Uro
4 months ago

“Victim” was a typo. The author meant to say “trophy”

Adrian Smith
Adrian Smith
4 months ago

Oh the irony DEI defined as:
“any program, campus activity, or policy that classifies individuals on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, gender identity, or sexual orientation and promotes differential or preferential treatment of individuals on the basis of such classification.”
You could be forgiven for thinking that that is exactly what DEI should be preventing.
The republicans seem to be suggesting people should be judged on “the content of their character”!

Jonathan Andrews
Jonathan Andrews
4 months ago
Reply to  Adrian Smith

“The republicans seem to be suggesting people should be judged on “the content of their character”!”

Shocking

Andy O'Gorman
Andy O'Gorman
4 months ago
Reply to  Adrian Smith

DEI must DIE.

Robbie K
Robbie K
4 months ago
Reply to  Adrian Smith

You could be forgiven for thinking that that is exactly what DEI should be preventing.

Nailed it. Almost as if those very words were used a generation ago yet have now been re-applied to push back. Extraordinary.

LeeKC C
LeeKC C
4 months ago
Reply to  Adrian Smith

What an extraordinary this to suggest!!!!! Or even be judged on merit, and virtue. It’s evil incarnate to even suggest such things. Shame on you!

Skink
Skink
4 months ago

Finally, some pushback against neo-racism. Yah!

harry storm
harry storm
4 months ago
Reply to  Skink

I’m not even sure what’s “neo” about it.

R Wright
R Wright
4 months ago

5 million is a lot of academic salaries

Arthur King
Arthur King
4 months ago
Reply to  R Wright

Lots of these DEI people are sociopaths. Once DEI is rightfully seen widely as vile many former DEI types will have a ” come to Jesus” moment.

Kerry Davie
Kerry Davie
4 months ago
Reply to  Arthur King

And failing that, a “go to Hell” moment.

Simon Boudewijn
Simon Boudewijn
4 months ago

Newsome of California is working on his DEI initiative in rather the oppisite direction. His new ‘Apart-white’ set of Rules he hopes to get enacted this year will make things Much better in the struggling California, and for struggling Californians. Just the Corporate Compliance alone is expected to provide a hundred $Billion in jobs for people who have the credentials for this work. Win-Win, as he describes it.

Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
4 months ago

Sounds like DeSantis is promoting what I would regard as an anti-racist, anti-sexist set of policies. What seems to be the problem?

Matt Sylvestre
Matt Sylvestre
4 months ago

Hallelujah! (Well mostly, not sure about restricting teaching of such subjects. There must be academic freedom in both directions at the collegiate level)…

Arthur King
Arthur King
4 months ago

Awesome news … not one DEI department should be left standing at any publicly funded university.

Ian_S
Ian_S
4 months ago

Once again DeSantis shows how it’s done. Trump is a great showman, and appeals to people’s justified anger at the snide woke establishment, but DeSantis would have been the “don’t get mad, get even” candidate, if he hadn’t been overshadowed by Trump’s extraordinary personality. That’s history now, but brilliant to see DeSantis leading by example for the long slog of state by state fightback.

Kerry Davie
Kerry Davie
4 months ago
Reply to  Ian_S

A future president hopefully.

Bernard Brothman
Bernard Brothman
4 months ago

In stead of, “Florida’s DEI purge takes new victim”
Consider: “Florida DEI housecleaning continues.”

stephen k
stephen k
4 months ago

Great & bold move. After the current Trump / Biden horror show – hopefully in the next election cycle we’ll see DeSantos running for POTOS.

harry storm
harry storm
4 months ago

re: …any program, campus activity, or policy that classifies individuals on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, gender identity, or sexual orientation and promotes differential or preferential treatment of individuals on the basis of such classification.
That used to be called (correctly) racism or bigotry. Now it’s called “diversity, equity and inclusion.” This kind of Orwellian BS has no business at universities or anywhere, really. Good on DeSantis.

Kerry Davie
Kerry Davie
4 months ago

DEI to IED to DIE.

John Taylor
John Taylor
4 months ago

DEI is a mechanism designed for perpetuation; no DEI department has ever eliminated itself by saying, “Mission accomplished, diversity achieved, time to move on.” On the contrary, such offices invent more microaggressions to be attacked and more groups to be included in the DIE pantheon.

Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
4 months ago

The Achilles heel of DEI and the woke religions generally is that they are promoted by people whose jobs are entirely publicly funded. De Santis has demonstrated that all you need to do is defund them. Even private institutions like Harvard are vulnerable because their massive investment funds enjoy a tax free status that can also be taken away.

Tom More
Tom More
4 months ago

At least one sane , just leader in the West.

Tom More
Tom More
4 months ago

Classic natural law is the only possibly coherent foundation for natural rights and duties. https://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2013/09/natural-law-or-supernatural-law.html