Yesterday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) signed a bill that would bar Florida colleges and universities from spending money on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) programs while limiting how race can be discussed in courses.
This bill signing is a shocking and deplorable move by the Florida Governor, as he’s intentionally putting up barriers for students and faculty to feel safe and welcome no matter their race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, disability, or socioeconomic status.
According to The Washington Post, DeSantis said the following at a news conference at the New College of Florida in Sarasota:
“If you look at the way this has actually been implemented across the country, DEI is better viewed as standing for discrimination, exclusion and indoctrination. And that has no place in our public institutions. This bill says the whole experiment with DEI is coming to an end in the state of Florida.”
His understanding of DE&I is categorically flawed.
As mentioned above, DE&I stands for diversity, equity, and inclusion. It is a set of principles and practices aimed at creating a work environment and society that values and embraces diversity, ensures fairness and equal opportunities, and fosters a sense of belonging for all individuals, regardless of their race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, religion, or abilities.
By embracing diversity, we’re providing a way for people from various backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives to come to the table and be heard.
By being equitable, we’re addressing systemic inequalities and giving everyone equal access to resources and opportunities.
And when we’re inclusive, we welcome active engagement and empowerment of all individuals, ensuring their voices are heard, their contributions are valued, and they can fully participate in decision-making processes.
DE&I is essential because it promotes social cohesion, innovation, and organizational success, not “discrimination, exclusion and indoctrination,” as Governor DeSantis believes.
By embracing diversity, organizations and societies can harness various perspectives, ideas, and talents that lead to creativity and innovation. In addition, inclusion ensures that all individuals have an equal chance to succeed, allowing for a more equitable distribution of opportunities and resources.
DE&I also contributes to a sense of belonging and psychological safety, which enhances employee engagement, productivity, and well-being. Moreover, DE&I is a matter of social justice, as it addresses historical and systemic biases, discrimination, and exclusionary practices that have disadvantaged marginalized groups.
By fostering an inclusive and equitable environment, DE&I promotes a fair and just society where all individuals can thrive and reach their full potential.
So, with all due respect Governor DeSantis, you could not be more wrong on a topic, and you should be ashamed of your signing this bill that will defund DE&I programs at Florida’s public colleges.
We support those working to fight this bill, even after signing, and will also be here to help those trying to bring about positive change and break down barriers. We will continue to fight these types of injustices and hope to bring about positive change in doing so.