DeSantis’ New Ban Sparks Massive Backlash

Gage Skidmore from Surprise, AZ, United States of America, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

On Monday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed legislation SB 266, which would ban all state funding for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) programs in all state universities.

DeSantis signed the bill into law on the campus of New College of Florida, an institution that in the last year has gone through significant changes. According to the new legislation, all public universities will be prohibited from using state funding for their DEI programs. The bill would also allow the university president to have more control over hiring practices.

This bill is DeSantis’s latest move against “woke” culture which he has often claimed is infiltrating education. Previously he had signed laws that allowed parents to have more control over their children’s education up until their children graduate from high school. His actions are also viewed as a part of a national movement that is calling for educational reforms.

New College of Florida, in Sarasota, is being used as the template based on which all state colleges are going to be reformed. As he has argued, his administration is trying to make all colleges similar to Michigan’s Hillsdale College, a private liberal arts school. This was also reiterated in a statement Florida Education Commissioner Manny Diaz said in January.

During the bill’s signing, DeSantis touted his success in making changes to New College, stating that these changes predominantly relate to his effort to deemphasize DEI and CRT in the institution, which has led to faculty from across the country wanting to move there. He added that this general interest by the faculty has shown that there is recognition of the ways in which the framework was previously “very intellectually oppressive.”