(VitalNews.org) – The Governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis, has criticized Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives, which he says have been used to promote an ideological agenda in US universities.
DeSantis is one of the signatories of Senate Bill 266, which specifies that institutes of higher education in Florida cannot use federal or state funds to advance DEI initiatives.
Senate Bill 266 refers directly to Florida College System institutions and any associated direct-support organizations, as well as state universities and their direct-support organizations.
The bill instructs those institutions and organizations that they may not spend federal or state funds to maintain, support, or promote any campus activities or programs that call for diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Campus activities and programs that engage in or promote political and social activism are also covered by the bill, which refers to the rules and regulations of the State Board of Education and the Board of Governors.
Explaining the bill at a press conference, DeSantis said that it will have the effect of re-orientating our universities and institutes of higher education back to their traditional goals of treating people as individuals.
He noted that it will also allow those institutions to return to elevating the concept of merit over any superficial characteristics which have been promoted by the “progressive” left in recent years, such as race, skin color, and ethnic heritage.
He pointed out that DEI was an attempt to impose a left-wing totalitarian agenda to prevent or suppress freedom of thought and unfettered academic discussion. In that regard, DEI would be better described as advocating Discrimination, Exclusion, and Indoctrination rather than Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
Chris Rufo, a senior fellow of the Manhattan Institute and a conservative activist best known for tackling Critical Race Theory (CRT) welcomed the legislation, saying that it would put the pursuit of truth and knowledge, rather than political activism, back to its rightful place at the core of higher education in the state of Florida.
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