Ron DeSantis, University of Florida, DEI

The University Of Florida Deads DEI And Ron DeSantis Is ‘Glad’ About It

Ron DeSantis continues to drag down the state of Florida.

Persons working in diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) offices at the University of Florida found themselves unemployed after positions were eliminated following a new state rule.  

In a memo published on Mar. 1, senior leadership says they must comply with Florida Board of Governors regulation 9.016, which bans the use of state funds to be used for DEI or “political or social activism.”

Mentioned programs have been defined as “any activity organized with a purpose of effecting or preventing change to a government policy, action, or function, or any activity intended to achieve a desired result related to social issues, where the university endorses or promotes a position in communications, advertisements, programs, or campus activities.” 

After all DEI positions were axed, the home of the Gators closed the Office of the Chief Diversity Officer and stopped contracts with external vendors with DEI focuses. Now, the $5 million in funds UF previously received for those programs – with salaries and expenditures included – will be placed into, according to the memo, a retirement fund for faculty members. 

According to Advocate, 13 full-time employees and 15 administrative appointees lost their jobs but will receive 12 weeks of severance pay. Governor and failed presidential candidate Ron DeSantis seemed unbothered by those staggering numbers as he celebrated the school’s decision on Twitter. “DEI is toxic and has no place in our public universities,” he wrote in response to the posted memo. 

“I’m glad that Florida was the first state to eliminate DEI, and I hope more states follow suit.”

Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, J. Scott Angle; Vice President and General Counsel, Amy Meyers Hass; and Vice President for Human Resources, Melissa Curry say they will continue a “commitment to universal human dignity.”

“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 memo read. 

“The University of Florida is an elite institution because of our incredible faculty who are committed to teaching, discovering, and serving.”

The Sunshine State had been pushing the ban of DEI initiatives since the proposal of HB 999, banning any program promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion at the college level throughout the state. 

DEI advocates have openly criticized the decision, including chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, Steven Horsford, who responded to DeSantis’ comments saying what is toxic is intolerance. Andrew Gothard, president of the United Faculty of Florida union, said the move is a game of silencing. “This is all about silencing students. It’s about silencing faculty. It’s about withholding funding from individuals who have beliefs, speak ideas, or take actions that would disagree with the politics of elected leaders.”

RELATED CONTENT: BOARDROOM POWER 2023: Slower Progress in Black Representation With DEI Backlash