State Universities in Florida Spend $34.5 Million on Diversity-Related Programs

In late December, Ron DeSantis, the newly re-elected governor of Florida and probable candidate for the Republican Party’s nomination for president of the United States in 2024, notified all state-operated universities in Florida that they are required to “provide a comprehensive list of all staff, programs, and campus activities related to diversity, equity and inclusion and critical race theory.” The universities were told to provide information on the “costs associated with the administration of each program or activity,” including a description of the activities, paid positions, and percentage of the operating costs that are provided by state funds.

The 12 state-operated universities have reported that $34.5 million in their combined budgets are related to diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts. Nearly $21 million of this total is from state funds with the remainder coming from the federal government, nonprofits, or private sources.

The University of South Florida said it has $8.7 million in its budget earmarked for diversity programs, the most of any of the 12 state universities. The University of Florida budgeted $5.3 million and Florida State University allocated $2.45 million for diversity initiatives.

Historically Black Florida A&M University had $4.4 million in diversity-related expenses, mostly coming from state funds. The largest allocations were for staffing and programs at the Center for Environmental Equity and Justice and the Institute of Public Health.

Armed with this new information, it is unclear what steps, if any, Governor DeSantis will take to curtail these programs. However, in a speech at a state Board of Governors meeting at Florida International University in Miami on January 24, Jeanette Nuñez, the lieutenant governor of Florida, said “I believe [the colleges are] looking at ways to curb those initiatives, and I think we’ll look at ways to more broadly curb those initiatives as well.”

Update: On January 31, Governor DeSantis stated that “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. These [DEI] bureaucracies are hostile to academic freedom, and really they constitute a drain on resources and end up contributing to higher costs.” He has introduced legislation to defund diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives at Florida state universities.

Comments (2)

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  1. Dr Hamp says:

    I wish the reporter had mentioned that the budget is only 1% of the overall higher ed budget.

  2. Ebony C. says:

    Dr. Hamp,

    I was thinking the same thing.

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