Governor DeSantis' Vows to Banish DEI and CRT Bureaucrats and Their Hatemongering From Florida's Universities

AP Photo/Marta Lavandier

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis unveiled a new legislative proposal on Tuesday to eradicate Critical Race Theory and Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity bureaucracies and bureaucrats from Florida’s public universities and colleges.


In a press conference at the State College of Florida in Bradenton, FL, Governor DeSantis gave an extensive critique of the state of higher education in general and pledged to defund the dysfunctional and racist DIE programs that have sprung up like dunghill mushrooms after a summer thunderstorm.

“We are also going to eliminate all DEI and CRT bureaucracies in the state of Florida. No funding, and that will wither on the vine.

The speech is cued up to the pertinent part for your convenience.

Among all the progressive fads that find a home in academia, DIE/CRT is the most pernicious. They teach students to distrust one another based on race and ethnicity. They require white students to participate in what can only be described as the lineal descendant of Maoist self-criticism “struggle sessions.” Practices that we thought went out with Jim Crow, like racially segregated dorms and dining rooms, have been reinstituted ostensibly to provide a refuge from the scourge of “white supremacy.” But, as we’ve seen recently in Northern Virginia, the drive to achieve “equity” inevitably results in punishing students who have the persistence and ability to achieve (Discrimination in the Name of Equity: More Virginia Schools Admit to Withholding National Merit Awards). Anything Governor DeSantis can do to rip this abomination out by the roots is welcomed.


This is not a stand-alone item; it is part of a comprehensive set of proposals to ensure that students and taxpayers are treated with respect.

DeSantis’ proposals to refocus state higher education on learning and student achievement rather than on political indoctrination are welcome. What is more welcome is that he not only talks about conservatism, he fights for it. Former Maryland Governor Larry Hogan has dismissed Governor DeSantis as only being good at “getting on Fox News,” but when you compare DeSantis’ record to Hogan’s, it is night and day. Hogan is leaving a Maryland GOP that has been decimated, and he has signed off on every ill-advised, left-wing law the legislature has passed. On the other hand, DeSantis has flipped historically blue Florida counties, increased the GOP majority in the legislature, and won critical redistricting battles. He’s set a record of policy and political achievements that should be the standard by which we judge candidates.


If you look around the country, and Florida is not immune to this, there is a debate going on about what is the purpose of higher education. Particularly, publicly-funded higher education systems.

I think the dominant view is not the right view, the use of higher education to impose ideological conformity, to promote political activism is what the university should be. That is not what we believe is appropriate in the state of Florida. Instead, we need our higher education system to focus on promoting academic excellence, and the pursuit of truth, and to give students the foundation so they can think for themselves.

You see the former approach is dominant throughout the country in academia, you see it manifested in a lot of different ways. More recently you see it manifested in things like DEI [Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity] bureaucracies. This is basically a component of the administration within universities that are imposing a political agenda. Sometimes things like critical race theory. These bureaucracies are hostile to academic freedom and they constitute a drain on resources and end up contributing to higher costs that these bureaucracies metastasize.

You will see flowing from that things like mandatory DEI training, and that is really posing an agenda on people. We passed the Stop Woke Act last year to say of you are an employee, particularly of a private business, that you have the right to opt out of that. They can’t impose it — that’s litigating, that is what happens every time.

They also do things like require “diversity statements,” which is basically like making people take a political oath. That has been applied across the country — if a candidate for a position at a university says, “My view is to treat everyone the same regardless of the color of their skin,” they get points off for saying that. You have to embrace things like critical theory, the idea of implicit bias, and those other things. That is just not appropriate.

What we did at the beginning of this year after the inauguration, we requested that colleges and universities across Florida report the amount of money they are using in things like DEI and CRT programs, including administrative staff, activities, the whole nine yards. They reported that, and it is a lot of money. And it is not the best use of your money. We’re going to do something about that.

You see the growth of administrative bloat around the country in higher education, and it dwarfs what they’re spending on people who actually teach our students!

How do you want to have this massive growth in bureaucracy and not see the money flow to where it really matters in the classroom? How did this happen where all this administrative bloat is allowed to happen? Part of it is they take out loans. They know you get these loans, they have the kids take out loans, they’re not improving the academic performance, they’re expanding bureaucrats and administrative staff, and trying to impose an agenda that way!

That is a failed model and we’re trying to make sure that’s not happening in the state of Florida.

I’m grateful to be here at the State College of Florida because we have 28 state colleges, many of them are doing really, really good things. This is part of the engine. We’re producing more nurses, we’ve put a lot of emphasis on that because we see the shortage that you have. so there’s a huge increase in that. New things like CDL, commercial drivers licenses. When I became governor, we were producing about 600 truck drivers a year in the state through our programs. Now we have the ability to do 3,500 truck drivers a year. We see it in mechanics. All these different things that are really in high demand and are really, really useful for powering an economy, particularly an economy like ours that has outperformed the nation pretty much every month for the last two years. So that’s great, we appreciate what they’re doing, but they also recently all signed, all state colleges, signed a pledge to say they are not going to have any indoctrinating programs like DEI and CRT on their campuses. That’s great leadership, we want to thank them for doing it.

So we have more work to do. Last year we signed a bill for really positive higher education reforms. It did things like dismantling the monopoly accreditation agencies have had on our higher education system. We think there should be choice in the accreditors because these accreditors aren’t accountable to anybody, and yet they can wield huge amounts of power in terms of what is allowed to be happening on our university campuses. We also wanted to make sure students going from a state college to a state university could have a seamless transition in terms of their courses, accounting, and all of that is very, very important because you can come here for two years and then you can go to the University of South Florida, or Florida State, and that’s fine, and that’s a great pathway and we want to do that.

Probably the most important is that we’ve brought accountability for tenured faculty. Now all tenured faculty at our state universities must undergo review every five years and be let go if they are not performing to expectation. So we need to do more, so today we’re announcing a series of proposals to continue to lead in the area of higher education.

The first thing we’re going to propose is make sure everyone who goes to a Florida university has to take certain courses focused on giving them a foundation so they can think for themselves. The core curriculum must by grounded in actual history and the actual philosophy that has shaped Western civilization. Our institutions will be graduating students with degrees that will actually be meaningful. We don’t want students to go through at taxpayer expense and graduate with a degree in zombie studies. This will make a difference.

We are also going to eliminate all DEI and CRT bureaucracies in the state of Florida. No funding, and that will wither on the vine. And I think that is very important because it serves as an ideological and political filter. You’ve seen different things. College has really embraced that, and that is part of the reason it hasn’t been successful.



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