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Florida Gov. DeSantis signs three new bills that would position the state as a "national leader in higher education." Photo: SOPA Images/ Getty

The end of diversity and inclusion in Florida higher education institutions

Gov. DeSantis signs legislation that “prevent woke ideologies” that violate Florida law and positions the state as “national leader in higher education.”

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Governor Ron DeSantis has signed three bills that solidify Florida's stance in “becoming the number one state for workforce education by 2030” by introducing Senate Bill (SB) 266, which prohibits institutions from spending federal or state dollars on diversity, equity, and inclusion programs, which is considered a “discriminatory initiatives" under DeSantis administration. 

DeSantis also signed House Bill (HB) 931, which prohibits Florida’s public institutions from requiring students, faculty, or staff to take political loyalty tests, and finally, SB 240, also known as the Reimagining Education And Career Help (REACH), will expand workforce education programs and increase access to career and technical education programs from middle and high school. 

According to SB 266, DEI initiatives “promote dangerous political and social activism” and violate Florida law of “theories that systemic racism, sexism, oppression, and privilege are inherent in the institutions of the United States.”

SB 240 will create more apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs across Florida, which has 48 technical colleges and 28 state colleges. The bill will require “school districts to ensure that every high school student has access to at least one work-based learning opportunity.” 

“Florida has ranked number one in higher education for seven years in a row, and by signing this legislation, we are ensuring that Florida’s institutions encourage diversity of thought, civil discourse, and the pursuit of truth for generations to come,” said Governor DeSantis in a press release. “Florida is taking a stand for empowering students, parents, and educators to focus on creating opportunities for our younger generations. I am happy to have worked with the legislature to get this important legislation signed, sealed, and delivered.”

SB 266 will require university presidents to renew their accountability policy for hiring, promoting, and disciplining staff. 

“Florida’s top-ranked state college and university system, with a strong commitment to academic excellence, recognizes the importance of academic freedom and upholds this principle as a fundamental value of its educational mission,” said House Speaker Paul Renner. “The bills signed today [May 15] promote a supportive environment where faculty and students can explore and express ideas freely without fear of censorship, retribution, or discrimination. Academic freedom is a cornerstone of higher education, as it allows for the free exchange of ideas and the pursuit of knowledge and truth.”

HB 931 will require universities to establish an Office of Public Policy Events; that will host events and speakers of diverging opinions on public policy issues. 

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