WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (CBS12) — Governor Ron DeSantis has called on Florida’s public colleges and universities to report all state resources allocated to diversity, equity, and inclusion programs and activities and those dedicated to critical race theory.
Last week, the memo was sent to publicly funded universities across the state. It explains the governor's office wants a full accounting of personnel and operational expenses utilized in support of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and critical race theory (CRT).
The request, sent by the director of the governor’s office of policy and budget, directs Florida state colleges and universities to report all spending on staff, programs, and initiatives related to DEI and CRT to the Board of Governors by the close of business on January 10. This will give the Board of Governors time to collate the information for all 12 institutions, coordinate with the Department of Education and still meet the Executive Office of the Governor’s deadline.
As Gov. DeSantis said in his inaugural speech earlier this week, he wants Florida’s universities focused on academic achievement and preparing graduates for their future careers.
“We must ensure that our institutions of higher learning are focused on academic excellence and the pursuit of truth, not the imposition of trendy ideology," said Gov. DeSantis.
The form the schools need to fill out requires a comprehensive list of staff, programs, and campus activities related to DEI and CRT, and specifically asks how much taxpayer money is being spent on each.
See also: Florida man accused of poisoning neighborhood dogs and cats with antifreeze
Florida Atlantic University professor Andrew Gothard, president of the United Faculty of Florida, believes this effort is intended to scare professors away from teaching certain subject matter.
“That's fundamentally anti-democratic. It's anti-American. Right. Every idea should have an opportunity to be discussed, debated, and explored on a higher education campus. And that right should not be abridged, simply because governor DeSantis has decided that he doesn't like some ideas versus others," said Gothard.
Gothard has encouraged FAU and other state campuses not to respond to the survey.
“My hope and our hope as an organization is that our university and colleges will say no, that they will not provide this information to the state," said Gothard.
While the state’s “Stop Woke Act” has been held up by the courts, the governor has continued to fight what he calls harmful “woke ideology” for taking government, business, and education in the wrong direction.
“It frowns upon American institutions, it rejects merit and achievement, and it advocates identity essentialism," said Gov. DeSantis.
The governor’s office asked for a quick turnaround because, according to the memo, he wants to analyze the information in time for this year's legislative session which begins in March. CBS12 asked how they intend to use the answers from the survey, but have not yet gotten a response.
We also asked all the state schools in our area - Florida Atlantic University, Palm Beach State College, and Indian River State College what they intend to do. So far CBS12 News only heard back from Palm Beach State. They told us the college will be complying with the governor’s request.