Gov. Ron DeSantis’ move to defund diversity programs sparks debate

Author: Amy Galo Writer: Joey Pellegrino
Published: Updated:

WINK News spoke to students at Florida SouthWestern State College for their responses to Gov. Ron DeSantis defunding diversity, equity, and inclusion programs at all state universities.

Under the law, Florida state universities are barred from spending state or federal funds to promote, support, or maintain any programs that “advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion, or promote or engage in political or social activism.”

“There’s programs, specifically clubs, that people can join,” said Alina Borowicz. “They do a good job of advising that.”

But DeSantis wants to change that.

“It has very little to do with the traditional academic mission,” DeSantis said of DEI programs. “People sometimes wonder, ‘Why is the university doing this, doing that?’ It seems like they’re pursuing more of an agenda than actually trying to just focus on academics, and sometimes that’s just the deliberate choice… But, sometimes, those are choices that are being conditioned based on the accrediting bodies.”

That’s the DeSantis’ opinion. More FSW students gave theirs.

“I like what Ron DeSantis is doing,” said Christian Wheelock.

“[I’m] kind of angry, to be honest,” Borowicz said.

The law also bars certain lessons in general ed courses: those regarding theories of systemic racism, sexism and privilege. Wheelock agrees with this.

“I believe that college is a place to learn about facts and not opinion,” Wheelock said. “And certain truths have held true indefinitely.”

But Borowicz thinks it only limits learning.

“To impact somebody’s curriculum… that’s impacting their entire life and where they could go with their lives, especially if they’re out here,” Borowicz said.

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