- Florida’s new bill will force state colleges to close diversity programs and some majors.
- American history courses would be standardized to eliminate what the bill calls “identity politics.”
- The bill is the latest effort from the Florida GOP to crack down on statewide education.
A new education law sponsored by the Florida GOP would force the state’s colleges and universities to close any diversity, inclusion, and equity programs, as well as a variety of gender studies and race major.
The bill, HB 999, was filed by Representative Alex Andrade, R-Pensacola, on Tuesday.
If passed, the bill would force state colleges to remove “from its programs any major or minor in Critical Race Theory, Gender Studies, or Intersectionality, or any derivative major or minor in these systems of faith.”
Universities are also prohibited from funding or supporting any “campus programs or activities” that “support diversity, equity, and inclusion or Critical Race Theory,” the bill says.
And core classes are prohibited from presenting American history “contrary to the creation of a new nation based on the universal principles expressed in the Declaration of Independence,” the bill said, adding that the course does not contribute to “identity politics, such as Critical Race Theory.”
The bill stipulates “Breathtaking control of viewpoint and content throughout all academic activity in the entire Florida system,” according to a tweet from the University of Michigan Law Professor Julian Davis Mortenson, who specializes in constitutional and international law.
Mortenson blasted the bill in a Twitter threadwhich states that it prohibits colleges from spending “any money to fund pedagogy, programming, or activities” related to diversity, equity, and inclusion and changes allowed in the hire university faculty and complete post-tenure reviews.
The bill is the latest effort from Florida Republicans to restrict what is taught in higher education. The Insider previously reported that the recent budget of Gov. Ron DeSantis, which he calls the ‘Framework for Freedom,’ will block state universities from using funding to support diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives.
In late January, the governor announced legislative plans to “ensure that Florida’s public universities and colleges are grounded in the history and philosophy of Western Civilization,” which includes a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, as well as the so-called “Critical Race Theory.”
DeSantis then tweeted the details of these plans for “higher education reform.” Much of DeSantis’ outline, such as points prohibiting colleges from supporting diversity, equity, and inclusion activities and programs, can be found in HB 999.
The bill comes after a battle between DeSantis and the College Board, which offers AP college-level courses to high school students across the country, over an AP African American Studies course. DeSantis rejected the course in January, saying it imposed “a political agenda.”
DeSantis’ office told Insider that the governor “will decide on the merits of the bill in its final form if and when it passes.”