DeSantis De-Wokes Florida Universities

( – Ron DeSantis is making good on his promise to defund the controversial “diversity, equity, and inclusion” initiatives at state colleges and universities by signing SB 266 on May 15th.

The Republican governor has made getting rid of “wokeness” his signature issue. So-called DEI training is described by proponents as merely teaching historically accurate knowledge about America’s racist past. Critics point out that DEI seems to have a foundational assumption that white people are born racist and are racist by default. DEI programs seem to have become at least socially compulsory throughout American higher education and corporate business. 

SB 266 bars any state colleges or universities from using state money to pay for DEI programming, while also giving college presidents more say over hiring standards. 

DeSantis has taken a broad approach to de-throning hard-left “woke” social and business policies in the Sunshine State. He backed an earlier bill that barred public schools from teaching kindergarteners through third graders about sexual topics. Left-leaning observers, including virtually all US mainstream media, inaccurately labeled the law the “Don’t Say Gay” bill.

The bill does not prohibit the use of the word “gay.” It merely bans sexuality instruction for young children. 

The bill affects Florida’s New College, which has been locked in battle with the state as Florida works to “de-woke” the institution. In January, the state’s education commissioner Manny Diaz said he hoped New College would offer classical education and become the “Hillsdale of the South.”

SB 266 wasn’t the only anti-woke bill DeSantis signed Monday. He also approved a bill that bars public colleges and universities from forcing students to write “diversity statements” as a condition of being admitted. The ban also applies to requiring faculty to do the same in order to be hired.

So-called “diversity statements” are professions of agreement with the hard-left view of racial and social issues of DEI advocates. Critics have described them as mandatory political loyalty tests.

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