MIAMI, Fla. — Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nuñez announced to Florida’s Board of Governors on Tuesday that there’s a plan to “curb” diversity, equity, and inclusion initiative curriculums that include critical race theory or related concepts.
The topic of diversity studies like critical race theory and intersectionality have become a hotly debated, often polarizing political topic.
On Jan. 18, presidents of the 28 Florida College System member schools put out a statement concerning "diversity, equity, inclusion and critical race theory."
"Historically, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives served to increase diversity of thought as well as the enrollment and the success of underrepresented populations and promote the open access mission of our state college system," the statement said. "The presidents of the Florida College System (FCS) also understand that some initiatives and instruction in higher education under the same title have come to mean and accomplish the very opposite and seek to push ideologies such as critical race theory and its related tenets."
"To be clear in this environment, the FCS presidents, by and through the FCS Council of Presidents (COP), will ensure that all initiatives, instruction, and activities do not promote any ideology that suppresses intellectual and academic freedom, freedom of expression, viewpoint diversity, and the pursuit of truth in teaching and learning," the statement continued. "As such, our institutions will not fund or support any institutional practice, policy, or academic requirement that compels belief in critical race theory or related concepts such as intersectionality, or the idea that systems of oppression should be the primary lens through which teaching and learning are analyzed and/or improved upon."
The presidents' statement went on to say that if instruction at a postsecondary school includes discussion of CRT, “our institutions will only deliver instructions that includes critical race theory as one of several theories and in an objective manner.”
Nuñez referenced that statement during her appearance with the board of governors on Tuesday, saying that: “I believe that (FCS) are looking at ways to curb those initiatives, and I believe that we’ll look at ways to more broadly curb those initiatives as well.”
Dr. Jonathan Cox, an assistant professor in the University of Central Florida sociology department, said he canceled two classes in the fall semester because of the state law that forbids the teaching of CRT. He said it was a personal choice, though, not one forced on him.
In light of a November injunction imposed by a federal judge that has blocked the section of Florida's so-called "Stop Woke Act" that bars certain race-based conversations in state colleges and universities, Cox said similar classes have resumed.
“Some of us in the department, we really think about these things and talk about these issues because they’re pivotal to the areas that we study, or understanding of sociology and social inequalities in general,” he said.