Gov. DeSantis Announces Reforms for Florida’s Higher Education, Targets ‘Tactics of Liberal Elites’ (Video)

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) on Tuesday announced legislation for the 2023 session to “further elevate civil discourse and intellectual freedom” in colleges and universities by promoting history and philosophy rooted in the Western tradition and prohibiting politically-motivated curriculum, according to a press release.

The legislation targets the “tactics of liberal elites who suppress free thought in the name of identity politics and indoctrination.”

Its provisions “will ensure Florida’s public universities and colleges are grounded in the history and philosophy of Western Civilization” and “prohibit DEI [Diversity, Equity and Inclusion], CRT [Critical Race Theory] and other discriminatory programs and barriers to learning.”

The legislation also seeks to “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,” Gov. DeSantis said in a statement.

This 2023 legislative proposal builds on reforms enacted in 2022 via Senate Bill 7044, which sought to dismantle the monopolies held by accreditation agencies, hold tenured faculty more accountable, and make transitioning between a Florida state college and university easier,” according to the release.

What else the proposed legislation will accomplish its goals 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 into 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.”