- Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis’ office ordered Wednesday that all state universities submit information about how their diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) and critical race theory (CRT) programs are funded.
- Professor’s rushed to Twitter to defend diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) and critical race theory (CRT) programs.
- “If you support what DeSantis is doing here, imagine for a second how this kind of power might be used by Democrats in blue states to censor conservative professors and students,” Nick Seabrook, University of North Florida professor, tweeted.
Professors took to Twitter to rally support around diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) and critical race theory (CRT) being pushed in the classroom after Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration ordered all universities to disclose how these programs are funded.
Florida’s Office of Budget and Policy sent a memo to state universities on Dec. 28 requesting information about how state resources were used to benefit DEI and CRT programs. The requested information included descriptions of any programs, activities or positions pertaining to DEI or CRT. (RELATED: Congress’ 2023 Defense Legislation Shovels Cash Into DEI Programs. Here’s Where It Will Go)
MEMO: All state university & college systems in Florida have been required to report expenditures and resources utilized for campus activities related to diversity, equity, and inclusion and critical race theory. Stay tuned. pic.twitter.com/E4Z4zLuJgC
— Bryan Griffin (@BryanDGriffin) January 4, 2023
Nick Seabrook, University of North Florida professor, tweeted his response to the Governor’s office request Wednesday, in which he stated the order lacked a specific definition of DEI or CRT. He claimed that the order is an attempt to stifle free speech and academic freedom and “punish institutions that deviate from the administration’s approved curriculum.”
“If you support what DeSantis is doing here, imagine for a second how this kind of power might be used by Democrats in blue states to censor conservative professors and students. Constitutionally protected speech in public universities should be off limits, period,” he tweeted Thursday.
This fight is not just about DEI/CRT, it’s about protecting the First Amendment rights of public university students and faculty of all political persuasions from government censorship:https://t.co/EGD8vHFQOv
— Nick Seabrook (@DrSeabrook) January 5, 2023
Seabrook implored alumni and donors to call university president’s to express opposition to DeSantis’ order, unifying around the claim that DeSantis “wants to pit us against each other in a race to the bottom for funding.”
Emilio Bruna, University of Florida professor, said that the order will make it harder for universities to recruit faculty, staff and students if they are forced to cut back on DEI/CRT programming. He also accused DeSantis Thursday of using universities to “advance his presidential ambitions.”
Motivation aside, one major consequence of this demand is that state universities will have a harder time recruiting outstanding faculty, students, staff, and administrators.
DeSantis is tanking our universities to advance his presidential ambitions. https://t.co/SI5eYU7ViG
— Emilio M. Bruna (@BrunaLab) January 5, 2023
Criticism also rained down from Florida politicos. Democratic state Rep. Ashley Gantt, who wrote in her Twitter bio that she is a “former educator,” tweeted Wednesday that the order is an attempt to “remediate” history and slammed it as “censorship.”
First, let’s attack the accurate teaching of racism in history. Now, let’s attack the efforts to remediate said history. This is censorship.FL is allegedly free, but not when it comes to learning the truth. My existence & those who survived for me to be here will not be erased. https://t.co/pow2VGAcHF
— Ashley Gantt (@Gantt4Florida) January 5, 2023
Julian Duque, press assistant for Democratic Rep. Darern Soto, tweeted Thursday that DEI offices are “vital and should be independent of government influence.” He praised the office staffers for doing “amazing work.”
I have so many friends who do amazing work at @valenciacollege and @UCF’s diversity and inclusion offices…
I hope they don’t loose their jobs or are unable to perform the work that impacts students most. DEI offices are vital and should be independent of government influence. https://t.co/AQvTtZN8vP
— Julian Duque (He/El) (@julianduquegr) January 5, 2023
Out-of-state professors also rushed to defend DEI and CRT in the classroom. Courtney Young, University of Houston professor, tweeted that “DeSantis is a horrible person” and Jonathan Feingold, Boston University law professor, claimed that “if cancel culture were a memo, it would look something like this.”
if cancel culture were a memo, it would look something like this.https://t.co/cbst5SsFXX
— Jonathan Feingold (@JPYGold) January 5, 2023
Seabrook, Gantt, Duque, Young and Feingold did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment. Bruna declined to comment.
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