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March 5, 2024

DEI Is Gator-Chomped Out of the University of Florida

This makes it the first public university to divest itself from the Racial Marxism ideology.

In a memo released by the University of Florida’s J. Scott Angle, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, an announcement was made that the university is shutting down its diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) division. According to the memo, “To comply with the Florida Board of Governor’s regulation 9.016 on prohibited expenditures, the University of Florida has closed the Office of the Chief Diversity Officer, eliminated positions and administrative appointments, and halted DEI-focused contracts with outside vendors.”

The total number of positions eliminated is 13 DEI positions and 15 administrative appointments. Those staff that were just laid off will be paid 12 weeks severance. Even in spite of that, the school is saving itself $5 million. Those funds will be allocated to a faculty recruitment fund.

This makes the University of Florida the first public university to divest itself from the Racial Marxism ideology that labels itself as DEI.

One aspect to watch, however, is that those in the DEI division who have lost their jobs are “allowed and encouraged” to apply for other available positions. The Wall Street Journal interprets this as a positive move, showing that the University of Florida is not trying to punish anyone, rather it is trying to unite its staff under the founding principle of the university: to teach students. The difficult aspect of rehiring DEI professors and staff into different positions is that they might still push forward the ideology of DEI, which is toxic.

Just look at what DEI’s influence has done to Harvard. Its former president, Claudine Gay, couldn’t even state that calls for genocide against the Jews were a punishable offense on campus. Harvard is now in a farcical dance between rectifying itself in the court of public opinion and still teaching and acting on the tenets of DEI, which label Israel and the Jews as oppressors and Hamas as the oppressed. By trying to have its cake and eat it, too, Harvard has merely succeeded in further exposing the degradation of the university.

In an interview in January, former U.S. Senator and University of Florida President Ben Sasse signaled that this change would probably be coming. Here is the pertinent excerpt from that interview, according to The Wall Street Journal:

Of the push for “diversity, equity and inclusion,” [Sasse] says that “the aspirational best parts of diversity and inclusion, I’m for.” “If you don’t have viewpoint diversity, I don’t know how you ever get to education — you just get indoctrination.” And he believes in “the dignity of every soul,” so “you want people to be included.”

What’s wrong with DEI “is the E,” he says, meaning the embrace of “equity” at the expense of equality. “The fundamental problem is saying that Martin Luther King can’t fit in the new communities of know-it-all ideological-indoctrination bureaucrats that run most universities in the country. … MLK doesn’t fit because of his aspirations for a colorblind society.

"Can people have a different view than MLK? Of course.” But “the ideological conformity of mandating that equality of opportunity is wrong and bigoted, it has to be excluded from our discourse — those people are crazy.”

It’s amazing what leadership backed by good governance can do. Let’s hope that other universities in other states take notice and will follow the University of Florida’s example. Let’s also hope that the University of Florida is able to foster that diversity of thought without the equity of outcome seeping back in.

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