(USNewsMag.com) – A proposed bill would give the state of Florida more control over the state’s public universities, a move that would bring the schools closer to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ plan for higher education.
The bill would eliminate the possible majors or minors of critical race theory and gender studies in state universities. The proposed bill would prohibit campus activities or school spending on critical race theory and those promoting diversity, equity and inclusion. Any program required for compliance with federal regulations would be exempt.
The bill would allow each university’s board of trustees, which are appointed by the governor, in charge of all hiring decisions with input from the university’s president. The board of trustees for each university would also be allowed to review the tenure of faculty members. In the hiring process, the new legislation would ban consideration of diversity, equity and inclusion, which DeSantis has described as “discriminatory.”
The use of DEI in hiring has also come under fire in Texas, with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott stating the use of DEI in hiring within the public university system violates state labor laws. The University of Texas system board has voted to pause the use of DEI in hiring.
In January, DeSantis pledged to ban Florida state schools from any expenditures on DEI programs, a pledge which is fulfilled in the proposed legislation. Also in January, presidents of Florida’s two-year community colleges made a commitment to not teaching critical race theory in a vacuum.
At the New College of Florida, DeSantis has installed a new board along with a mandate which would remake the public liberal arts college into his current vision for higher education.
Florida state Rep. Alex Andrade proposed the legislation. The Florida legislature reconvenes in March.
Twelve universities make up Florida’s public university system. More than 400,000 students are enrolled in the state’s public university system.
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