UPDATE: This story has been updated to reflect a memo from the Florida governor’s office.
The Florida College System (FCS) presidents said on Wednesday that no state funds will be used to support diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) or critical race theory (CRT) initiatives on campus, according to a memo obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation.
The presidents confirmed in a collective letter that none of the system’s 28 institutions would use state money to “fund or support any institutional practice, policy, or academic requirement that compels belief in critical race theory or related concepts such as intersectionality, or the idea that systems of oppression should be the primary lens through which teaching and learning are analyzed and/or improved upon,” the letter read. The announcement came after Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration requested information about how colleges and universities used state funding to support DEI or CRT initiatives on campus. (RELATED: Florida House Speaker Demands Information On Diversity, Equity And Inclusion ‘Prevalence’ On College Campuses)
“Historically, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives served to increase diversity of thought as well as the enrollment and the success of underrepresented populations and promote the open access mission of our state college system,” the letter reads. “The presidents of the Florida College System (FCS) also understand that some initiatives and instruction in higher education under the same title have come to mean and accomplish the very opposite and seek to push ideologies such as critical race theory and its related tenets.”
BREAKING: Florida College System presidents declare their schools will not use funds to compel CRT beliefs on students pic.twitter.com/44RGuPrSzr
— Florida’s Voice (@FLVoiceNews) January 18, 2023
The presidents clarified that any initiative to limit CRT in the classroom will not infringe on academic freedom, but instructors will be required to teach the material in a “objective manner.”
“In the development of knowledge, research endeavors, and creative activities, a college faculty and student body must be free to cultivate a spirit of inquiry and scholarly criticism, and to examine ideas in an atmosphere of freedom and confidence, free from shielding and in a nondiscriminatory manner,” the letter continues. “The FCS presidents remain committed to developing campus environments that uphold objectivity in teaching and learning and in professional development and that welcome all voices- environments in which students, faculty, and staff can pursue their academic interests without fear of reprisal or being ‘canceled.'”
FCS presidents will review and remove any “any institutional instruction, training, and policies” by Feb. 1 considered to be discriminatory, according to the letter.
“I would like to commend our presidents for ensuring our state colleges are environments where all students can embrace educational freedom and acquire the knowledge and skills necessary for a thriving career,” Manny Diaz Jr., Florida’s education commissioner, told Florida’s Voice.
Diaz did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.
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