Florida Bill would allow DeSantis to ban CRT and gender studies in state schools

Ron DeSantis hosts election night event in Tampa – Photo credit: Octavio Jones/Getty Images

A new law was introduced in Florida this week that would give Gov. Ron Desantis more power over state schools and allow the Republican politician to ban gender studies and critical race theory and diversity and inclusion initiatives in Florida colleges, CNN reports.

The legislation, which follows DeSantis’ promise to ban universities from spending money on diversity, equity and inclusion programs, was introduced Tuesday by Rep. Alex Andrade of Pensacola. If passed, Florida State colleges would be barred from offering major and minor programs in intersectionality, critical race theory, and gender studies.

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Core classes would also be prohibited from touching on these teachings or presenting U.S. history as “contrary to the creation of a new nation based on universal principles set forth in the Declaration of Independence,” the bill said.

Currently, the state’s premier university, the University of Florida, has a Chief Diversity Officer and a Center for Inclusion and Multicultural Engagement. The bill would jeopardize those positions and centers that aim to promote inclusion and diversity.

Last month, the governor said he had grand plans for “college reform” that would force Florida’s public colleges “to be grounded in the history and philosophy of Western civilization.”

“We’re holding our breath,” Sergio Cartagena, a sophomore at the University of Central Florida, told Rolling Stone last month. “We don’t know how this might impact the activism we engage in with our organizations and in the classroom when what we’re trying to learn could be limited.”

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DeSantis is currently in a legal back-and-forth with the college board after the governor tried to ban AP African American Studies in the state, describing it as part of a “political agenda.”

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The College Board also dismissed reports that it had caved in to criticism from DeSantis and his administration and made changes to its program. DeSantis said Florida would not allow the course to be taught in the state unless significant revisions were made. This is due in part to Florida’s “Stop WOKE Act,” a law that went into effect last summer that bans the state’s K-12 students from taking Critical Race Theory (CRT) classes.

“Conversation and misinformation continue, and we felt an urgency to set the record straight and not wait another day to do it,” a college board spokesman said, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

DeSantis signed another law into law last year, nicknamed “Don’t Say Gay,” prohibiting teachers in Florida schools from speaking about gender and sexuality. This is all part of a larger right-wing movement to demonize discussions about race, sexuality and privilege.

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