UNF prepares to close several on campus centers linked to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

The University of North Florida is set to close several on campus centers – after a decision by the Florida Board of Governors – that ends the use of public money towards diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives on campus.

This will affect the Women’s Center, the LGBTQ Center, and the Intercultural and Interfaith Center. The University of North Florida is starting to phase out these centers, and there’s no concrete timeline on when they will officially close.

Some students told News4JAX that the news is upsetting.

“I think that’s part of a college education is learning about diversity,” student Chelsea Bufford said.

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The Florida Board of Governors approved a regulation preventing public colleges and universities from spending any state or federal funding on diversity, equity and inclusion programs.

This is defined as any program that “classifies individuals on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, gender identity or sexual orientation.”

Students Maggie MacDonald and Kal Barrientos said the DEI programs on campus influenced their decisions to go to UNF. In the past, UNF was named a “Diversity Champion” and ranked as one of the “Best LGBTQ Friendly Colleges And Universities.”

“It’s upsetting, that’s supposed to be a space for us to feel safe and feel welcome,” Barrientos said.

“I’m just mad about it, I think it’s dumb that they’re closing things down that are useful to most everyone on campus,” MacDonald said.

Many students we spoke with don’t utilize the DEI resources on campus, but they’re also asking questions about this new state law.

“Aside from heling women feel included, they also provide a lot of services like domestic violence counseling. So, I think closing the women’s center is kind of horrible,” Bufford said.

Student, Tyler Minnicks, said “I feel like there’s a lot of diversity on campus and it’s important to have a place to go where you feel safe.”

No university or staff members will lose their jobs because of these changes. Diverse student clubs, fraternities and sororities will not be affected either.

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