Florida public universities waste more than $15 million on woke initiatives, report finds

Governor DeSantis asked the various schools to report exactly how much they are spending on each project.

The State University System of Florida is spending a total of $28 million on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and Critical Race Theory programs during the 2022-2023 school year, according to a report obtained by the student newspaper The Independent Florida Alligator. And part of that money (more than 50%) was funded by taxpayers.

Governor Ron DeSantis informed Florida's colleges and universities that they had until Jan. 13 to report such expenditures to the government. When the deadline passed, the University of South Florida (USF) reported that it spent more than $8.6 million, while the University of Florida (UF) claimed to have allocated $5.3 million to such programs. The University of Central Florida (UCF) disclosed that it invested $4.48 million of its budget in these plans.

Taxpayers fund a large part of these programs

What's troubling about the report, says Fox News, is that much of the money spent on these programs comes out of taxpayers' pockets, and they are not aware of it. UF's chief diversity officer received a salary of $1,085,485. Of that salary, more than 70% came from money collected in taxes. On the other hand, UCF invested $400,000 in taxpayer money to hire three faculty members "from underrepresented groups."

In turn, Florida A&M University allocated $1.8 million for a "Center for Environmental Equity and Justice." The money used for this purpose came entirely from public funds.

At Florida Atlantic University (FAU), one associate professor received more than $10,000 in state funds to conduct a workshop on "Gender and Climate Change," which, according to the report, "explores how gender inequality across the globe is related to environmental damage and climate change and examines feminist, indigenous and LGBTQ climate justice movements alongside the gendered implications of global policy and practices related to the environment."

Finally, a UCF professor used more than $8,000 to teach a "Third Wave Feminism" class that, as the program description reads, had "an activist focus."

Florida governor rejects woke course aimed at African-Americans

DeSantis already stated in his second inaugural address that the state must guarantee good educational training, something that he believes Florida already has but which must be maintained:

We must ensure school systems are responsive to parents and to students, not partisan interest groups, and we must ensure that our institutions of higher learning are focused on academic excellence and the pursuit of truth, not the imposition of trendy ideology.

That's why, he said in an appearance last Monday in Jacksonville, he canceled an Advanced Placement (AP) course focused on expanding African-American studies for high school students. He made that decision after reviewing the program and asserting that some of the topics attempted to use African-American history to push a political agenda: "If you fall on the side of indoctrination, we’re going to decline. If it’s education, then we will do," he assured.

College Board to review AP course

The College Board was quick to weigh in on the controversial AP workshop. According to what a statement said on Tuesday, it will review the syllabus for this class and will "release the official framework" for the course on Feb. 1. It did not cite the reasons that caused changes to be made, but all indications are that it could be due to the content that DeSantis openly criticized:

Who would say that an important part of Black history is queer theory? That is somebody pushing an agenda on our kids. And so, when you look and see they have stuff about intersectionality, abolishing prisons — that’s a political agenda. That’s the wrong side of the line for Florida’s standards.

DeSantis was not the only one critical of the course. The Florida Department of Education had also expressed disapproval and welcomes a review. Spokesperson Alex Lanfranconi said in a statement:

We are glad the College Board has recognized that the originally submitted course curriculum is problematic, and we are encouraged to see the College Board express a willingness to amend. AP courses are standardized nationwide, and as a result of Florida’s strong stance against identity politics and indoctrination, students across the country will consequentially have access to an historically accurate, unbiased course.