A bill that will prohibit colleges and universities from requiring students to pledge support for diversity, equity, and inclusion ideologies or concepts is heading for Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ desk.
House Bill 931 cleared the state Senate on Tuesday in a 33-5 vote after it was approved by the state House of Representatives. It would ban higher education institutions from administering “political loyalty tests” that are defined as “compelling, requiring, or soliciting a person to identify commitment to or make a statement of personal belief in support of” concepts including any “specific partisan, political, or ideological set of beliefs,” according to its text. (RELATED: Red States Introduce Bills That Would Ban Universities From Using Diversity, Equity And Inclusion As A Job Factor)
It also includes statements that support “ideology or movement that promotes the differential treatment of a person or a group of persons based on race or ethnicity, including an initiative or a formulation of diversity, equity, and inclusion” that goes beyond the scope of the 14th Amendment, the text reads.
The problem? DEI statements often function as political litmus tests — just ask professors.
More than half of them, including 26% of left-leaning profs, believe these statements violate academic freedom. (3/8)
— FIRE (@TheFIREorg) February 16, 2023
Under the ban, colleges and universities cannot use the statements to “give preferential consideration” to applicants being considered for promotions, employment or admission. The statements also cannot be used as a condition of admittance, employment or promotion, according to the bill.
The bill would also require each of the state’s 12 public universities to establish an Office of Public Policy Events that must organize four debates or forums every year, the bill reads. The events “must address, from multiple, divergent, and opposing perspectives, an extensive range of public policy issues widely discussed and debated in society at large” and utilize speakers who “represent widely held views on opposing sides of the most widely discussed public policy issues of the day.”
“What this does is says, we’re going to have these topics, widely held (and) discussed topics of today, and we are going to facilitate a point-counterpoint,” Republican state Sen. Keith Perry said on Tuesday, according to local outlet WUFT. “We’re going to have both sides of that that students can go to, and the general public if there’s room.”
Perry and DeSantis did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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