ICYMI: Governor DeSantis Elevates Civil Discourse and Intellectual Freedom in Higher Education
January 31, 2023
FDOE Press Office
Governor DeSantis Elevates Civil Discourse and Intellectual Freedom in Higher Education
Legislative Proposal Takes a Stand Against Academic Discrimination and Indoctrination
Sarasota, Fla. — Today, Governor Ron DeSantis announced legislation for the 2023 Session to further elevate civil discourse and intellectual freedom in higher education, further pushing back against the tactics of liberal elites who suppress free thought in the name of identity politics and indoctrination. Among its many provisions, the legislation will ensure Florida’s public universities and colleges are grounded in the history and philosophy of Western Civilization; prohibit DEI, CRT, and other discriminatory programs and barriers to learning; and course correct universities’ missions to align education for citizenship of the constitutional republic and Florida’s existing and emerging workforce needs.
“In Florida, we will build off of our higher education reforms by aligning core curriculum to the values of liberty and the Western tradition, eliminating politicized bureaucracies like DEI, increasing the amount of research dollars for programs that will feed key industries with talented Florida students, and empowering presidents and boards of trustees to recruit and hire new faculty, including by dedicating record resources for faculty salaries,” said Governor Ron DeSantis.
“Under Governor DeSantis’ leadership, Florida’s state university system has remained the number one system for public higher education in America, and a four-year degree has never been more affordable,” said Ray Rodrigues, Chancellor of the State University System of Florida. “We applaud the Governor for his commitment to providing our students a high-quality education that focuses on academic excellence and is free from ideological agendas determining what they should learn.”
“I am grateful to be a part of Governor DeSantis’ education-focused administration and to lead the Florida Lottery in continuing its mission of enhancing educational funding for Florida’s students and schools,” said Florida Lottery Secretary John F. Davis. “As a scholarship recipient, I was fortunate for a pathway to achieve my degree, and I could not agree more with Governor DeSantis that no student should be denied the opportunity to receive a post-secondary education or vocational degree. This new legislation introduced by the Governor today will ensure that all students have the opportunity to succeed, regardless of their race, religion, ethnicity, or socio-economic status. He is leading our state by example and choosing to do the right thing by making certain Florida’s students know a brighter future is attainable, and his legislation will help to create a more talented workforce, expanding Florida’s professional talent pool for years to come.”
This 2023 legislative proposal builds on reforms made during the 2022 Legislative Session through Senate Bill 7044 to dismantle accreditation agency monopolies, increase tenured faculty accountability, and make the transition between a Florida state college and university more seamless. Specifically, the 2023 proposal raises the standards of learning and civil discourse of public higher education in Florida by:
- Requiring the State University System Board of Governors (BOG) and State Board of Education (SBOE) to review and realign general education core courses to make sure they provide historically accurate, foundational and career relevant education, not suppress or distort significant historical events or include a curriculum that teaches identity politics;
- Prohibiting higher education institutions from using any funding, regardless of source, to support DEI, CRT, and other discriminatory initiatives;
- Requiring institutions’ presidents and boards of trustees to take ownership of hiring and retention decisions, without interference from unions and faculty committees;
- Allowing institutions’ presidents and boards of trustees to conduct a post-tenure review of a faculty member at any time with cause;
- Prohibiting postsecondary institutions from using discriminatory political filters, including political loyalty oaths and DEI statements, in the hiring process;
- Requiring preeminent state research universities to include annual research expenditures of $50 million or more for STEM-related occupations, businesses, or industry partners in Florida that are employing Florida residents;
- Requiring the Board of Governors (BOG) to align universities’ missions to education for citizenship of the constitutional republic and Florida’s existing and emerging workforce needs;
- Providing additional responsibilities and clarifications for FSU’s Florida Institute of Politics, including renaming it the Florida Institute for Governance and Civics; and
- Providing additional responsibilities and clarifications for FIU’s Adam Smith Center for the Study of Economic Freedom.
Governor DeSantis also previewed that in the fiscal year 2023-2024 budget recommendations, he is including:
- $15 million to overhaul and restructure the New College of Florida, including support for students’ scholarships and hiring faculty;
- $5 million for operations and $13 million for capital needs for the Hamilton Center for Classical and Civic Education at the University of Florida, which will be renamed the Hamilton College for Classical and Civic Education;
- $100 million in performance funding that must be used for the recruitment and retention of highly qualified faculty at state universities.
Governor DeSantis made the announcement at the State College of Florida, a leader in serving the workforce needs of Manatee and Sarasota counties, and one of the 28 Florida state colleges that unanimously agreed to end all discriminatory DEI and CRT initiatives by tomorrow, February 1, 2023.Read More News...