Florida governor Ron DeSantis has officially signed legislation that will ban state dollars from going to diversity, equity and inclusion programs at public institutions, ultimately defunding such efforts.
The Republican governor has taken aim at DEI programs in recent months, echoing criticism from right-wing critics who claim the initiatives are divisive and tantamount to liberal indoctrination. On Monday, DeSantis said that the DEI acronym ultimately represents “discrimination, exclusion, and indoctrination,” according to The Sarasota Herald-Tribune.
DeSantis signed three bills—including one that limits how race and gender can be taught—at the New College of Florida, surrounded by supporters including NCF trustee Chris Rufo, who has long campaigned against DEI programs. Rufo is one of six NCF trustees appointed by DeSantis in January to overhaul the small college. They have captured national headlines for pushing the prior president out, hiring a Republican lawmaker to be president at a much higher salary, shutting down the college’s DEI office and denying tenure to five professors who had been approved at every other point in the process.
DeSantis also faced protests on the NCF campus by students and community members upset about the legislation.
The governor has increasingly targeted higher education in recent months, taking on various culture war issues ahead of a widely anticipated 2024 run for the Republican nomination for the presidency.