Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis threw down the gauntlet on fixing higher education on Jan. 31, vowing to eliminate all funding for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion (DEI), and Critical Race Theory (CRT) throughout the state.
Public universities should not be in the business of using taxpayer money to offer degrees in “zombie” studies but should embrace academic excellence and truth, and allow students to think for themselves, DeSantis said.
“Our institutions will be graduating students with degrees that will actually be useful,” he said. “We will be eliminating all DEI and CRT bureaucracies in Florida. It will wither on the vine.”
DeSantis offered a series of legislative proposals to flush political ideologies out of universities, including allowing university presidents and the university board of trustees to hold a post-tenure review on professors as needed.
He also wants to shift hiring authority to the university president that had been ceded to faculty.
DeSantis says he wants to ban the campus hiring committees’ use of DEI oaths that certify candidates will adhere to ideologies. One of them is Critical Race Theory—a Marxist ideology that divides people into oppressors and victims based on race or gender.
Currently, candidates who reject social justice ideology and embrace the belief of equality and a color-blind society get points deducted during the hiring process designed to weed out those who disagree, he said.
DeSantis said DEI bureaucracies had become a component of the administration within universities that are imposing a political agenda and ideologies such as implicit bias, which embraces the idea that America is systemically racist.
“These bureaucracies are hostile to academic freedom, and really they constitute a drain on resources,” he said.