Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis Signs Legislation Limiting State Higher Ed DEI Efforts

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has signed legislation that may limit state higher ed diversity efforts and weaken tenure protections. Gov. Ron DeSantisGov. Ron DeSantis

The legislation largely prohibits Florida public universities and colleges from spending money on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives and restricts how educators can discuss discrimination in required courses – banning teaching of “identity politics” is one example.

The law in Florida’s Republican-controlled legislature has been met with outrage and criticism from faculty, free speech groups, and students, particularly people of color and gay and transgender youth, who see it as a political assault on academic independence and anti-bias efforts.

Like-minded Republicans in other states, such as Texas, Tennessee, North Carolina, and South Carolina, are making similar efforts to restrict or remove diversity initiatives, claiming they are discriminatory.

To note, parts of the legislation could face legal hurdles. A federal judge granted a temporary injunction against a similar law in 2022, calling the limits on faculty “positively dystopian.”

DeSantis will likely declare his president bid by the end of the month, using laws like his higher ed bill to promote himself to conservatives.