Florida prohibits state colleges from using public funds for diversity, equity, inclusion initiatives

The Florida Department of Education approved Wednesday a rule prohibiting state colleges from using public funds for initiatives related to diversity, equity, and inclusion, also known as DEI.

On Thursday, News4JAX talked to students at Florida State College at Jacksonville who said they weren’t aware of the new state rule targeting public funding for DEI on campus.

The rule defines DEI as “…any program, campus activity, or policy that classifies individuals based on race, color, sex, national origin, gender identity, or sexual orientation and promotes differential or preferential treatment of individuals on the basis of such classification.”

FSCJ student Savannah Adkins said two programs came to mind when she heard of this rule.

“We have Blue Wave Allies. We have BSU,” Adkins said.

BSU stands for Black Student Union, and Blue Wave Allies is an LGBT organization. Adkins said she is a member of both groups.

“I think they make life more comfortable, and I think that they educate students on the history on what’s going on, like resources wise,” Adkins said.

RELATED | Gov. Ron DeSantis takes aim at university DEI funding in Florida with new higher education initiatives

Jalen Nixon is the vice president of the Black Student Union on campus.

“Our mission at the Black Student Union is to promote equality, and excellence within every community we encounter,” Nixon said.

Nixon said they receive about $800 a year from the college, and he was concerned about what the new rule would mean for that funding.

“I believe it is a travesty,” he said. “How can we bring an end to racism when there is no funding behind it?” Nixon said.

This new rule applies to Florida’s 28 state college campuses, including Florida State College at Jacksonville.

However, according to a spokesperson from FSCJ, no student groups on campus will be affected because all student clubs are open to everyone and are funded by student fees, not taxpayers.

The Florida Department of Education also replaced the course “Principles of Sociology” with a general course in American History.

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