Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced a proposal to eliminate all funding for so-called “diversity, equity and inclusion” and critical race theory “bureaucracies” at public universities during an event about “bringing accountability to the higher education system” in Florida on Tuesday. “All DEI and CRT bureaucracies in the state of Florida — no funding, and that will wither on the vine,” said DeSantis.
The Florida legislature, with a Republican supermajority in both chambers, will have the opportunity to pass the governor’s proposals in March.
Misleadingly-named diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) programs and critical race theory (CRT) have spread like poison within American universities. Proponents preach that someone’s skin tone confers a particular moral value and that Marxism is the only answer to supposed “systemic” injustices, all while refusing to present competing philosophies. As programs often include racially segregated “focus groups,” propose reverse discrimination, and shut down viewpoint diversity, there is nothing diverse, equal, or inclusive about DEI.
Universities across the country have implemented brand new academic departments dedicated to critical race theory as if it were as valid as the study of history or English. It is also normal for each academic department, from chemistry to theater, to have its own diversity, equity, and inclusion committees. The committees are then able to give DEI seminars in majors that would otherwise never discuss racial or social “inequity.” DEI committees have also begun impacting universities’ hiring processes by mandating faculty quotas based on race and sex.
That’s why DeSantis’ plan doesn’t stop at eliminating DEI and CRT funding. Florida’s governor also plans to give university presidents and boards of trustees more power in the hiring and firing of professors — power that has been taken away by faculty entitlements and bloated bureaucracy like the DEI committees.
Reviews for post-tenure faculty reportedly occur every five years in Florida, but DeSantis wants the boards of trustees and the presidents of the universities to have the ability to call for a review at any time. “The most significant deadweight cost at universities is typically unproductive tenure faculty,” DeSantis stated. “And so why would we want to saddle you as taxpayers with that cost, if we don’t have to do that?”
Moreover, he is proposing that university presidents have more authority in the hiring process. “That’s going to make a huge, huge difference in terms of making sure not only we have high-quality faculty, but we’re not implying some type of ideological litmus test to be able to be hired in the first place,” said DeSantis.
The governor’s state education reforms also include implementing core course requirements that will be grounded in “actual philosophy that has shaped Western civilization” and will propel students to “think for themselves.”
“We don’t want students to go through, at taxpayer expense, and graduate with a degree in zombie studies,” added DeSantis. “Zombie studies” isn’t the only bizarre curriculum offered by unhinged academic departments; full college degrees exist in puppet arts, cannabis cultivation, feminist theory, and gender studies, for example.
The problems plaguing American universities cannot be fixed with one or two state laws against CRT and DEI. This racist and Marxist philosophy does not only exist in curricula but in the minds of many — perhaps even most — university professors, who sincerely believe CRT and DEI are the correct moral framework from which one should view the world. DeSantis is fighting an uphill battle, but his impulse to ban brazen taxpayer funding of this radical, left-wing ideology is a good one, and a step in the right direction.