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Real pushback: Faced with a legal requirement to end its DEI programs, University of Florida shuts them down

Martin Luther King Jr
A real victory for Martin Luther King Jr

Bring a gun to a knife fight: In the past year there have been a variety of bills in state legislatures attempting to rein in or eliminate the racist Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) programs and departments at state universities. Some have been relatively weak feel-good, failure theater efforts, such as those that merely “ban” the teaching of these ideas, something that the leftist academics in charge easily get around by simply renaming the programs.

Other states imposed stronger legislation, threatening to cut the budgets of these colleges if they didn’t eliminate the programs. A few states have actually followed through.

Florida however took the strongest action under the leadership of Governor Ron DeSantis and its Republican controlled state legislature. It passed legislation that not only banned the teaching of these programs, it cut their budgets as well. No threats of budget cuts, the budgets of DEI programs were cut, right off the bat.

The University of Florida on March 1, 2024 demonstrated the effectiveness of this strong action.

The University of Florida announced Friday that it is eliminating all Diversity, Equity and Inclusion employee positions. This change, announced through an emailed administrative memo, comes after the Florida Board of Governors labeled expenditures related to DEI programs as prohibited expenditures. The memo explains that “to comply with the Florida Board of Governor’s regulation 9.016 on prohibited expenditures, the University of Florida has closed the Office of the Chief Diversity Officer, eliminated DEI positions and administrative appointments, and halted DEI-focused contracts with outside vendors.”

The Board of Governors defines DEI as “any program, campus activity, or policy that classifies individuals on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, gender identity, or sexual orientation and promotes differential or preferential treatment of individuals on the basis of such classification.”

At the moment it is unclear if all state-funded universities in Florida have done the same. Based on the law and the determination of the government and the governor to eliminate these very racist and very harmful programs, expect both to take aggressive action should any other universities resist in any way.

Nor should DeSantis and his Republican cohorts take their eye off the ball. Too many people who run academia are still in love with DEI and want to impose racial quotas everywhere favoring some minorities. They still refuse to recognize the damage these programs do, and in fact in some cases celebrate that damage as proof the program is working. (In their eyes, when whites get hurt unfairly merely because of their skin color this proves that racial justice has been achieved. “The sins of the fathers can never be forgiven. Endless generations of innocent whites must suffer for those sins!”)

Florida here however has shown the way. There must be no compromise. There must be no mercy. These programs all have to disappear, and the sooner the better.

Unfortunately, this state action remains incomplete. The departments where DEI and critical race theory were first formulated still exist at the Unversity of Florida. The college’s departments of African American Studies and Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies remain in full force, teaching these odious ideas. Both are based first on teaching students to first focus on race and gender in all things, not on teaching students some real knowledge and skills for becoming better and more thoughtful citizens. While certainly some of the historical and socialogical subjects in both departments carry worthwhile knowledge, all of this material could easily be absorbed in those more general departments, thus eliminating the focus on race and gender.

Are Americans finally waking up and emulating their country's founders?
Only if we have this kind of determination can
freedom and equal rights once again triumph

This consolidation has not happened at the University of Florida, and as long as these race-based departments exist, there is going to be a concerted political effort by their graduates to reinstitute these bigoted ideas back into the university’s general population. Worse, these students will end up in the general workforce, spreading bad ideas whereover they go. Such indoctrination must be rooted out, at its core.

The battle therefore has only really just begun. For the first time however there are some on the right who are actually fighting back, not making believe they are doing so. We shall see in the end whether those fighters have the long term determination to stay the course to final victory.

Genesis cover

On Christmas Eve 1968 three Americans became the first humans to visit another world. What they did to celebrate was unexpected and profound, and will be remembered throughout all human history. Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, Robert Zimmerman's classic history of humanity's first journey to another world, tells that story, and it is now available as both an ebook and an audiobook, both with a foreword by Valerie Anders and a new introduction by Robert Zimmerman.

The ebook is available everywhere for $5.99 (before discount) at amazon, or direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit. If you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and the author gets a bigger cut much sooner.

The audiobook is also available at all these vendors, and is also free with a 30-day trial membership to Audible.

"Not simply about one mission, [Genesis] is also the history of America's quest for the moon... Zimmerman has done a masterful job of tying disparate events together into a solid account of one of America's greatest human triumphs."--San Antonio Express-News


  • David Ross

    Question for our host: have you read The Radical King?
    Do you have any plans to?
    … how about Richard Hanania, “The Origins of Woke”?
    The Playboy 1965 interview where King says that Whites can’t be forgiven?

    … conservatives, I suppose, have the right to claim that King was some kind of color-blind libertarian, but they’re… well, they’re not taken seriously when they do.

  • David Ross: I have not read those books, so I admit to some ignorance. I also know that the power structure for spreading the poison of critical race theory came out of these identity-based university departments. King was certainly not perfect, but the words of his greatest most important speech are what people remember most about him. That the ideas he expressed in that speech are now rejected and in fact hated by the black academia community makes it important to reference his work now.

  • BLSinSC

    As for those “positions” eliminated – where will those PEOPLE end up in the University?? I read an article about this and those people are being considered for OTHER positions within the University! So, they may have to give up their “titles”, but might just be put into positions where their IDEOLOGY can live on! It would behoove the Legislature to require info on the former “dei’s” new positions and activities!! Remember – a DEMOcrat invented the “depends on what the meaning of IS is”!!

  • Milt

    BLSinSc raises a valid concern about merely transferring indoctrinated faculty and staff from one department to another. Hopefully, the State of Florida has made it very clear that it is the *ideology* of DEI and its divisive consequences that is under attack and not just course nomenclature and titles on the door. In accomplishing this, however, there is a needle that needs to be threaded, and this involves the process of acknowledging the actual history of this country — as cruel and unjust as parts of it have been — with the need for reconciliation and reconstruction. In short, actually having the “conversation about race” that so many people have been advocating and propitiating, as much as humanly possible, the unquiet ghosts of our past.

    As Robert and others have suggested*, identity politics / DEI and Dr. King’s Dream point to radically different ways of perceiving our history and making amends for it, and central to the former philosophy is the idea is that no such reconciliation is truly possible or even desirable. Instead, in this view, our country must remain forever divided along the fissures of race, ethnicity, and gender, and — beyond these attributes — human beings have so little in common (or believe in so few of the same fundamental things) that they cannot even share their perceptions and expectations about life with people who are different from themselves. Leading, inevitably, in Hobbes’ view, to antagonistic factions and an eternal “war of all against all.”


    Dr. King, on the other hand, called upon people to acknowledge their shared humanity and to go forward together on the basis of that, however difficult the journey together might be. Again, two radically different concepts about the nature of human beings and what is
    possible for them to achieve in terms of what kind of societies might exist and how they can be governed**. The State of Florida would seem to be placing its bet on the concept that Dr. King’s approach is workable and that people have enough in common to overcome their superficial differences. We shall see. (Implicit in this is also the idea of a *shared culture* in which everyone can fully participate
    as citizens and stake holders. Under DEI, no such common American culture is conceivable, let alone desirable, leaving the arena wide open for the totalitarians to swoop in and impose their Leviathan form of order.)

    **That we have “the freedom to choose” in such matters is at the core of Mr. Zimmerman’s book, Conscious Choice.

    PS — As Robert observes, “when whites get hurt unfairly merely because of their skin color this proves [to some]that racial justice has been achieved.” No, two wrongs *do not* make a right, but sometimes experience does make the best teacher. Walking a mile in someone else’s shoes — especially a painful and frustrating mile — can do wonders for opening eyes and changing hearts, if those involved in the exercise are so moved. Indeed, Mr. Trump’s trials and tribulations at the hands of the Biden Administration’s lawfare assault would seem to be finding resonance among those whose historical experience (Jim Crow and other legal subterfuges) includes just such tactics. He, they believe, “gets it,” and wrong is wrong, whatever one’s complexion.

  • James Street

    What’s shocking to me is how quickly and broadly the left has destroyed western civilization:

    • Using accusations of systemic racism to destroy corporate, government, educational, religious, military institutions
    • Using covid to require jabs, and shut down the economy and schools
    • Increasing the national debt by $11 trillion dollars in the last 4 years from $23 trillion in 2019 to $34 trillion in 2023
    • Destruction of the American educational system
    • Corrupting and sexualizing children
    • Economic policies that destroy industries
    • Increasing number of people dependent on government subsidies
    • Millions of unvetted foreigners crossing our borders

    I see the fingerprints of the Chinese communist party as one of the agents behind this. For decades they’ve studied how to kill the body, mind and spirit of individuals and countries.

    This 8 minute video from 2020 is a Chinese speaker telling a Chinese audience in China that “We have people at the top of America’s core inner circle of power and influence”. The audience laughs and applauds:

    “Tucker Carlson’s Monologue on a Chinese Professor’s Recent Speech Should Terrify You”

  • Edward

    “The sins of the fathers can never be forgiven. Endless generations of innocent whites must suffer for those sins!”

    It isn’t just the sins of the fathers, but the fathers of some of those whites (most of those whites, actually) did not participate in the sins, so there is no sin in the families of those particular innocent whites. It is the sins of other people’s fathers, not of their own fathers, that they are punished for. How many of these white children are in reality descended from people who fought to end those sins, perhaps even died or were maimed in order to end those sins? Rather than being thanked, their descendants are punished.

    Such ingratitude just goes to show what a poor reward we get for doing good. No good deed goes unpunished, but we are the generations being punished for our forefathers’ (and other people’s forefathers’) good deeds.

    What kind of people punish the innocent, punish the children of the innocent, and punish the rescuers and their children?

  • GeorgeC

    David Ross, being a bit of a Cornel West fan, I have a copy of that Radical King book. I have to say great book, but King was about as radical as Thomas Aquinas. I think Robert Zimmerman would like this book. On the other hand the Alex Haley interview of King as published in Playboy can’t be used to prove any very specific point of fact. People can easily find it and download it along with other information about Alex quoting King and Alex quoting Malcolm X.

  • DonLC

    Since my family landed legally in the U.S. in December 1898, I’m pretty sure when the starting-time-of-being-a-slavemaster is accounted for, that I’ll be outside of liability. Until immigration time doesn’t matter of course.

    Some American Indians will be held to account as well, since a few were slave-owners. But they may be able to be held harmless due to the damage that the Buffalo soldiers did to the Indian psyche.

    And of course, whites will be rolling in the dough when we start charging for the ancestral use of white inventions – autos, telephone, computers, internet, electricity, oil, antibiotics, the alphabet. You know, all those insignificant things that add up to a civilization for everyone, regardless of skin color.

  • Cloudy

    Racism isn’t actually the core problem with DEI, as I have experienced through their training videos at work. It does tend to focus on well-publicized historical grievances, but in that it simply copies the affirmative action of the past. Affirmative action simply sought to use quotas (however disguised) to create certain outcomes. DEI is something else. Its main problem is the focus on grievances based on group identity. It seems to answer its critics by saying that they can claim their share of grievances also. They mention all sort of thing like appearances, sexual preference, height and illnesses to culture as possible markers for oppression. The problem is that, as any parent knows, people are inclined from very early childhood to look for ways to call out other for being unfair to them. Kids are rightly taught from birth that yes, the world is unfair but yes, you still have to live in it. You will not be able to fix it most of the time. You basically cannot live as a productive human being while believing otherwise. If you treasure your grievances you will be miserable. The same happens in societies. When each subgroup of a society focuses on the grievances it has against the others, you don’t get a just society. You get places like Somalia or Lebanon. The one thing the Israelis and the Palestinians have in common is a deep sense of victimhood. The Israelis root theirs in the Holocaust & the Palestinians root theirs in the creation of Israel. The end result is endless violence. If you want to be healthy as an individual or a culture, making grievance a part of your identity is a poor start.

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