by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The office of Governor DeSantis is requiring that Florida state college and universities report their spending on diversity, equity, and inclusion, as well as projects and initiatives related to critical race theory.
In a memo dated December 28, Chris Spencer, the director of the office of policy and budget in the DeSantis administration, asked the Department of Education and the state university system to disclose their staff, programs, and campus activities structured along these progressive ideological frameworks.
Each applicable educational institution must submit a description of the DEI project, relevant positions, and the funding spent, including the proportion that is from the state. The memo sets a deadline of January 13 for the responses.
“Governor DeSantis has prioritized a cost-effective higher education system that delivers high quality service to Floridians to best prepare them for employment,” the memo reads. “State law requires dutiful attention to curriculum content at our higher education systems.”
The University of Florida College of Medicine incorporates some elements of critical race theory — such as recruitment of “underrepresented groups” and a code of ethics teaching how to address “implicit bias” — into its admissions and educational programs, Fox News first reported in November.
For the past few years, DeSantis, who was just inaugurated for a second term as governor of the Sunshine State, has taken bold action to combat “wokeness” in the K–12 and college classroom, government agencies, and even private entities. One piece of DeSantis-backed legislation, coined the “Stop WOKE Act,” prohibits schools and companies from inserting critical race theory teachings, such as a lesson on “systemic racism” and “white guilt,” into student curricula or staff programming.
In August, a federal judge blocked the parts of legislation that limited private employers from discussing or holding critical race theory trainings on diversity, equity, and inclusion.