University of Florida fires DEI officials amid new state ban

University maintains 'unwavering' commitment to universal human dignity despite terminations

University of Florida fires DEI officials amid new state ban

The University of Florida (UF) is terminating positions related to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in compliance with a new state law barring expenditure on DEI programmes.

In a statement, the UF said it is closing its Office of the Chief Diversity Officer, eliminating DEI positions and administrative appointments, as well as ending all DEI-focused contracts with outside vendors.

The university said this is in compliance with the Florida Board of Governor's regulation 9.016 on prohibited expenditures.

"The University of Florida is – and will always be – unwavering in our commitment to universal human dignity," the university's statement read. "As we educate students by thoughtfully engaging a wide range of ideas and views, we will continue to foster a community of trust and respect for every member of the Gator Nation."

Affected employees will receive UF's standard 12 weeks of pay and are being encouraged to apply for consideration for different positions currently available in the university.

"UF HR will work to fast-track the interview process and provide an answer on all applications within the twelve-week window," the statement read.

It added that the approximately $5 million in funds that were originally meant for DEI expenses will be reallocated to a faculty recruitment fund to be administered by the Office of the Provost.

Florida's DEI expenditure ban

Florida Governor Ron Desantis reposted UF's announcement on his X account saying: "DEI is toxic and has no place in our public universities."

Full link to Tweet: https://twitter.com/GovRonDeSantis/status/1763655357581205839?s=20

The Florida Board of Governor's regulation 9.016 bars state universities or state university direct-support organisations from spending state or federal funds to promote, support, or maintain any programmes or campus activities that advocate for DEI.

The regulation defines DEI as "any programme, campus activity, or policy that classifies individuals on the basis of race, colour, sex, national origin, gender identity, or sexual orientation."

It also said it "promotes differential or preferential treatment of individuals on the basis of such classification."

According to the rule, an institution advocates for DEI when it engages in a programme or activity that:

  • Advantages or disadvantages, or attempts to advantage or disadvantage an individual or group on the basis of colour, sex, national origin, gender identity, or sexual orientation, to equalise or increase outcomes, participation or representation as compared to other individuals or groups
  • Promotes the position that a group or an individual's action is inherently, unconsciously, or implicitly biased on the basis of colour, sex, national origin, gender identity, or sexual orientation

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