UPDATE: This article has been updated to reflect a statement from Valencia College.
A Florida college announced earlier this week it would no longer offer several voluntary diversity training courses for faculty, ensuring its programming complies with a state law prohibiting content that could be considered discriminatory.
Valencia College President Kathleen Plinske said in an email to faculty that the school needed time to review the material in its faculty development courses to ensure that it complied with Florida’s “Stop WOKE Act,” AP reported. The Stop WOKE Act, signed by DeSantis in April 2022, maintains that a person cannot be compelled to “believe specified concepts constitutes discrimination based on race, color, sex, or national origin,” according to its text. (RELATED: Florida College Presidents Pledge To Not Fund Critical Race Theory, Diversity Initiatives On Campus)
The bill specifically prohibits “subjecting any student or employee to training or instruction” which teaches such concepts. Plinske wrote in the email to faculty that the course would only be halted for the spring semester and that courses may become available after it completes its review, according to a copy obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation.
“Eight of the 250 faculty development courses that Valencia College offers were put on hold for the spring semester to allow us time to ensure that they comply with HB 7,” Carol Trainer, senior director of public relations at Valencia College, confirmed to the DCNF.
The Stop WOKE Act faced mass criticism after its enrollment and was temporarily put on ice by a federal judge in Tallahassee in November 2022, AP reported. It is reportedly facing two additional challenges.
Carlos Guillermo Smith, a former Florida lawmaker, tweeted on Jan. 21 screenshots showing that Valencia College eliminated faculty courses on implicit biases and microaggressions.
After college presidents pledged their allegiance to Ron DeSantis’ censorship agenda and promised to abolish “woke” stuff by 2/1, @valenciacollege has already started.
Optional professional development courses teaching staff about implicit bias just got eliminated.
What’s next? https://t.co/J3m6ni9AQC pic.twitter.com/RuhGUa4EMu
— Carlos Guillermo Smith (@CarlosGSmith) January 21, 2023
DeSantis made education a staple of his administration and specifically has set his focus on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) and Critical Race Theory (CRT) on college campuses. Recently, his administration requested reports from public colleges and universities in the state about how much it spends on such programming.
The administration later requested information about the number of people public universities treat for “gender dysphoria.”
Guillermo Smith did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment. The Governor’s Office deferred the DCNF’s request to the college.
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