It didn’t take long for the heads of Florida’s local colleges to know who butters the academic bread.
The Free Press reported on Wednesday that the presidents of the public schools under the Florida College System pledged to ban “diversity, equity and inclusion” initiatives after Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis demanded that they account for how much tax money is spent on such efforts.
The move also occurred after DeSantis’ second inaugural address this month, in which he said, the state “must ensure that our institutions of higher learning are focused on academic excellence and the pursuit of truth, not the imposition of trendy ideology.”
As The Free Press reported, “The statement from the Florida College System [on Wednesday] noted that DEI initiatives tend to advance left-wing ideologies and silence dissent.”
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The 28 state colleges in Florida were once known as community colleges.
In their memo, the presidents of those schools noted that DEI programs once “served to increase diversity of thought” as well as the academic success of the “underrepresented populations” on those campuses.
But now, they wrote, they realize that some DEI policies and programs “have come to mean and accomplish the very opposite and seek to push ideologies such as critical race theory and related tenets.”
As a group, they added, the presidents will “ensure that all initiatives, instruction, and activities do not promote any ideology that suppresses intellectual and academic freedom, freedom of expression, viewpoint diversity, and the pursuit of truth in learning.”
“Our institutions will not fund or support any institutional practice, policy, or academic requirement that compels belief in critical race theory or related concepts such as intersectionality, or the idea that systems of oppression should be the primary lens through which teaching and learning are analyzed and/or improved upon,” the statement continued.
The student body and the faculty, the presidents added, “must be free to cultivate a spirit of inquiry and scholarly criticism, and to examine ideas in an atmosphere of freedom and confidence, free from shielding and in a nondiscriminatory manner.”
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The presidents added that they remain committed to creating campus environments that “uphold objectivity in teaching and learning and in professional development and that welcome all voices — environments in which students, faculty, and staff can pursue their academic interests without fear of reprisal or being ‘canceled.’”
In closing the statement, the college leaders reaffirmed their commitment to “nondiscrimination” in all aspects of campus life and to “merit, reason, fairness, civil debate, cultivating intellectual autonomy and equality.” They also vowed to renew their commitment to “our country’s common good.”
To that end, the memo said, the presidents would eradicate any DEI policy or program that promotes wokeism by Feb. 1.
Public universities in Michigan, Maryland, Virginia, and Illinois have employed diversity officials who pocketed salaries ranging from $329,000 to $430,000.