Monday, 20 February 2023

Florida Students Set To Pressure School Officials To Keep Diversity, Equity And Inclusion Programs

 University of Central Florida (UCF) students will rally outside of Friday’s Board of Trustees meeting to demand university officials maintain Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) programs in wake of recent calls to defund them by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis.

UCF students and allied organizations will rally outside the Live Oak Center between 8:30 a.m and 10:30 a.m to “demand our Board of Trustees to protect and maintain [DEI] programs, minority scholarships, and opportunities,” according to a flyer advertised by Stay Woke FL, a website with information regarding advocacy against “anti-woke movement.” The rally comes after the DeSantis administration announced their intent to defund DEI in higher education and requested a report from all public universities outlining how much taxpayer money was used to fund DEI programs.

The rally will occur during the UCF Board of Trustees meeting and protesters are encouraged to “bring signs of support,” according to the original flyer.

“He says we’re indoctrinated by wokeness, but we say he is using us in his narrative to push conservative ideology and destroy our schools to achieve his vision,” a separate flyer advertising the rally reads. Another flyer reads the administration “is proposing to outlaw all [DEI] initiatives at Florida colleges and universities.”

UCF spent more than $4 million, including $2.3 million from state funds, on DEI and Critical Race Theory, according to the report the school sent to the DeSantis administration. The university spent $400,000 on its “Faculty Recruitment Program” to boost hires from underrepresented groups and paid the vice president for DEI and assitants $445,000, at taxpayer expense.

DeSantis appointed six new trustees to the New College of Florida (NCF) earlier this year who took immediate action during the first board meeting on Jan. 31 by introducing a proposal to cut DEI programs and voted to terminate its president. The board voted to appoint former Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran as interim president.

The flyer also points the finger to the DeSantis administration’s rejection of AP African American Studies because it included tenets of CRT and queer theory, and the administration’s request for data on the number of transgender students that were treated by universities.

Friday’s event will be one of several protests planned by Florida college students to oppose the DeSantis administration’s directive for higher education. Students organized rallies at several universities on Tuesday ahead of a state-wide walkout planned for Thursday.

There will also be a protest at NCF on Feb. 28.

“As the governor has promised, ‘We are going to eliminate all DEI and CRT bureaucracies in the state of Florida. No funding. It will wither on the vine,'” Bryan Griffin, DeSantis’ press secretary, told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

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