The University of Florida shut down its office of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) on Friday, eliminating dozens of DEI-oriented administrative positions. The move away from DEI, which comes in response to new regulations from the Florida Board of Governors, has freed up millions of dollars in the university’s budget and fulfilled Governor Ron DeSantis’ pledge to ban such programs through the state.

“To comply with the Florida Board of Governor’s regulation 9.016 on prohibited expenditures, the University of Florida has closed the Office of the Chief Diversity Officer, eliminated positions and administrative appointments, and halted DEI-focused contracts with outside vendors,” read an email to university staff. “The Office of the Chief Financial Officer will reallocate the approximately $5 million in funds — previously reported to Tallahassee for DEI expenses, including salaries and expenditures — into a faculty recruitment fund.”

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Reports from local outlets indicate that 13 DEI positions were completely eliminated, and another 15 administrative appointments ended for faculty members. Those who had their positions cut will receive a standard 12-week severance package and are encouraged to apply elsewhere within the university. The memo concluded with a pledge that “the University of Florida is – and will always be – unwavering in our commitment to universal human dignity” and will thoughtfully engage “a wide range of ideas and views…to foster a community of trust and respect for every member of the Gator Nation.”

In January, Florida’s Board of Governors, a group that oversees the state’s university system, voted 15-2 to ban public institutions from using state or federal funds on diversity, equity, and inclusion programs. The Florida Board of Education passed similar restrictions on community and state colleges the week prior.

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“Higher education must return to its essential foundations of academic integrity and the pursuit of knowledge instead of being corrupted by destructive ideologies,” Florida Commissioner of Education Manny Diaz, Jr. said at the time. “These actions today ensure that we will not spend taxpayers’ money supporting DEI and radical indoctrination that promotes division in our society.”

Governor Ron DeSantis, who has frequently denounced DEI initiatives as a form of leftist discrimination, made this legislation a key part of his campaign to reform Florida’s education system. Following the announcement from the University of Florida, DeSantis declared that “DEI is toxic and has no place in our public universities.”

Connor Walcott is a staff writer for Follow Connor on X and look for him on VT’s “The Unusual Suspects.”

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