TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA — House Speaker Paul Renner told presidents at every state college and university in Florida that they must hand over documents and information related to their respective school’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) offices and programs from the past two years. The request, delivered Wednesday, seeks to investigate the use of “political considerations in the development of curriculum, hiring and promotion of faculty and other inappropriate activities.”
The documentation is expected to provide the names, titles, salaries and benefits of DEI employees as well as information pertaining to the use of outside contractors. The request also seeks all DEI communications and information related to practices related to faculty hiring, promotion, compensation and tenure.
Renner advocated that higher education institutions should “foster diversity of thought” and implied many DEI programs are a poor use of taxpayer dollars.
“The Florida House of Representatives has a responsibility to understand how state resources are being allocated across state universities and colleges,” he said in a press release.
“I look forward to working with my colleagues in the legislature to establish proper guardrails that ensure these institutions provide our students with an inclusive, well-rounded education that prepares them for the future without promoting an aggressively ideological agenda under the guise of diversity, equity and inclusion.”
Renner applauded Governor Ron DeSantis, University System Chancellor Ray Rodrigues and Education Commissioner Manny Diaz Jr. for their efforts to “expose the potential misapplication of state funds.” He distinguished Florida from other states across the country, suggesting that any DEI tyrants will be restrained.
“We compromise higher education if we follow other states that allow DEI staff to act as political commissars over campus life,” he said. “We intend to end this improper influence and re-focus on pathways to success for our graduates.”
“WHERE WOKE GOES TO DIE”
During his first term, DeSantis made no secret about his intention to banish “woke” social and political policies from every corner of the Sunshine State. In his inauguration speech earlier this month, the governor reiterated this philosophy.
“We reject this woke ideology. We seek normalcy, not philosophical lunacy. We will not allow reality, facts, and truth to become optional. We will never surrender to the woke mob,” he said. “Florida is where woke goes to die!”
Renner’s announcement comes on the heels of the governor’s appointment of six new board members at New College of Florida in Sarasota. The new members include Christopher Rufo, Matthew Spalding, Charles R. Kesler, Mark Bauerlein, Debra Jenks and Jason “Eddie” Speir.
The move garnered national attention, drawing criticism from progressives and praise from conservatives. DeSantis’ chief of staff James Uthmeier said the goal is to transform the historically progressive college into a “Hillsdale of the South.”
“My ambition is to help the new board majority transform New College into a classical liberal arts institution,” Rufo said in a tweet. “We are recapturing higher education.”