While Florida has long barred affirmative action in college and university admissions, Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday said the state goes “even further” as he addressed a Moms for Liberty convention in Philadelphia.
“We have eliminated ‘DEI’ from our public universities,” DeSantis said. “They say it’s ‘diversity, equity and inclusion.’ But the way it’s practiced, it’s ideology imposed on the institution.”
DeSantis, who is running for president in 2024, made the comments a day after the U.S. Supreme Court issued two rulings that will prevent college and university from using admission practices based on race.
The Supreme Court majority said practices at Harvard University and the University of North Carolina did not comply with the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection.
“Both programs lack sufficiently focused and measurable objectives warranting the use of race, unavoidably employ race in a negative manner, involve racial stereotyping, and lack meaningful end points,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the majority.
The rulings prompted President Joe Biden to urge colleges and universities to maintain a commitment to diverse student bodies.
A Florida law (SB 266) will take effect Saturday that prohibits colleges and universities from spending state or federal money to promote, support or maintain programs or campus activities that “advocate for” diversity, equity and inclusion.
Schools also will not be able to spend money on programs or activities that “promote or engage in political or social activism” as defined by the State Board of Education or the university system’s Board of Governors.
DeSantis signed the law in May.
The Southern Poverty Law Center considers Moms for Liberty to be an extremist group.
©2023 The News Service of Florida