The Florida Board of Governors last Wednesday voted 15-2 to approve a new rule prohibiting the use of state and federal funding for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion programs, including social or political activism on campuses, ABC News reported.
The rule bars the State University System of Florida from using federal or state funding to promote, maintain, or support any campus initiatives, programs, or activities advocating for DEI or to promote or engage in social or political activism.
The vote, which applies to all public universities in Florida, is the latest action taken by the state targeting Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
On January 17, the Florida Board of Education announced the new rule to prohibit federal or state funding for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion programs or activities at public colleges.
Florida Commissioner of Education Manny Diaz, Jr. said in a January 17 press release that higher education in the state “must return to its essential foundations of academic integrity and the pursuit of knowledge” rather than “being corrupted by destructive ideologies.”
Diaz said the new rule would ensure that taxpayer money was not being used to support DEI and the “radical indoctrination” on campus “that promotes division in our society.”
The new rule defines DEI in the context of universities as any campus program, activity, or policy that would classify individuals based on subgroups like race, gender, skin color, or national origin and promote “differential or preferential treatment” based on those subgroups.
Under the new rule, each school must appoint someone to ensure that it is abiding by the provisions on prohibited expenditures laid out in the rule.
The rule is the latest action taken since Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law SB 266 in May 2023. The law prohibits universities from using federal or state funds to promote, maintain, or support any programs or activities on campus.
Governor DeSantis has long targeted Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiatives, which he described as “discriminatory initiatives.”