DeSantis Administration highlights “shockingly wasteful” DEI spending at Florida universities

by | Feb 3, 2023

  • Data provided by the Desantis Administration claims that budget expenditures on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) programs at state universities have been “significantly misreported.”
  • The data was compiled after state university system members were asked to report expenditures and resources used for campus activities related to DEI and critical race theory.
  • The summary shows DEI spending – including some DEI programs that schools failed to report – is much higher than initially believed.
  • DeSantis has said that university DEI spending is a “misuse of taxpayer dollars” to promote a “political agenda at the expense of academic focus.”

The Executive Office of Governor Ron DeSantis shared a summary on Thursday highlighting budget expenditures at state universities on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) programs which concluded that the spending at several Florida schools was “significantly misreported” and “shockingly wasteful.” DeSantis has previously said that “these DEI and CRT bureaucracies are large, bloated, and self-serving.”

The summary comes after state officials earlier this month announced that all State University System members were required to report expenditures and resources utilized for campus activities related to DEI and critical race theory. The original memo, sent to Commissioner of Education Manny Diaz Jr. and State University System Chancellor Ray Rodrigues, outlined a document to provide a comprehensive list of all staff, programs, and campus activities taking place on school grounds, while also requiring the schools to disclose budget expenditure for each reportable item.

“What was reported revealed an extraordinary misuse of taxpayer dollars to promote a political agenda at the expense of academic focus,” DeSantis Press Secretary Bryan Griffin wrote.

The document released Thursday also alleges that the University of Florida hosts a “Youth Gender,” program, which can be found on its college of medicine website, that was not reported in their survey response.

Early numbers from the initial audits reflect that with approximately $3.4 million coming from the state, the University of Florida reported spending $5.3 million on diversity-related initiatives and costs, while 43 staff roles associated with the initiatives were also detailed by the institution.

Meanwhile, at the University of Central Florida, roughly $4.5 million was spent on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion” programs and expenses, reporting $2.3 million of the total as subsidized by state funding.

The University of South Florida (USF) documented spending around $1.2 million on its Diversity and Inclusion Office, with $1.13 million of the expenditure coming from state sources.

Florida Atlantic University spent approximately $904,000 on diversity, equity, and inclusion programs, including any additional expenses, with close to $643,000 coming from the state.

“Undoubtedly, these bureaucracies are more interested in protecting their status quo and furthering their agenda rather than delivering a quality education to Florida’s students,” the email further reads. “Consequently, the Executive Office of the Governor is working to ensure that a full and truthful compilation of CRT- and DEI-related spending is gathered, and these efforts are ongoing.”

The email further outlines employee positions at various state universities that the Governor’s Office deems a wasteful use of taxpayer dollars.

Such roles include Chief Diversity Officer and support staff at the University of Florida ($750,000 per year), the Center for Environmental Equity and Justice at Florida A&M University ($1.8 million per year), the Diversity and Inclusion Office at USF (just more than $1.1 million per year), and the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Florida International University (more than $1 million per year).

The email also states that FIU has a separate Office of Social Justice and Inclusion that uses $150,000 of taxpayer dollars annually.

Earlier this month, the presidents of 28 Florida College System members issued a joint statement in support of measures DeSantis has taken to audit DEI expenditure in Florida’s higher education institutions.

In more recent news, DeSantis outlined a series of higher education proposals on Tuesday including measures to outright defund DEI programs.


  1. Bruce S

    It would have been honest to state the context of these expenditures in light of the school’s annual budget. One example – UF is said to have spent over $5 million on DEI … out of an annual budget for UF of roughly $2 BILLION.

    In context, what is “shockingly wasteful” is the obscene amount of energy and resources dedicated to HRH Ron’s political witch hunt; those are your taxpayer dollars, too.

  2. John Conley

    “Specifically, by February 1, 2023, the FCS presidents commit to having fully evaluated and removed any institutional instruction, training, and policies opposed to the forms of discrimination described in this statement.”

    Since this work is done, can we now redirect our attention to something more productive?

  3. Anonymous

    No one is saying the obvious part out loud. “DEI” is a joint Russian/Saudi operation to make you accept their foreign agents taking over your institution, “CRT” is the propaganda of the Russian controlled African National Congress which has two secretary-generals on the board of Soros’s International Crisis Group, and the gender nonsense resembles stories of what the Soviets were teaching in occupied Eastern Europe. The propaganda is Russian, the funding and direction is Islamic, the personnel are pulled out of Palestine Solidarity rallies and installed into the executive levels of industries and given the power to fire whoever they want. These are true believers who voluntarily joined a Russian sponsored, banned Islamic terrorist organization. They are not going to stop. They need to be charged with treason and hanged or else they will be back in a few years courtesy of the people who installed them into power in the first place, and those people (MI6) need to be charged with treason and hanged.

  4. dolphincritic

    I don’t understand these initiatives well enough to believe that kind of money should be spent on topics that should be covered as a part of the curriculum in other courses. The concepts behind DEI an social equity wouldbe best addressed as components of existing curriculum presented in context with other components of that course.
    The application of social equity on campus should be addressed through policy changes rather than creating another bureaucracy. Indoctrination is more expensive, I suppose.

  5. MH/Duuval

    DEI includes programs and assistance — financial aid and mentoring — for military veterans, first-generation college students, and those with ADA certified physical and mental conditions.

  6. Harold Finch

    Total waste of time and money by the Universities!! But this is just the tip of the iceberg, they need to review all aspects of the University budgets that are not directly related to teaching!

  7. Anonymous

    Having gone through the Florida college system and seeing the $$ waste first hand, “context” only matters to people with ideology to defend. Tuition and tax money spent on establishing offices to condemn current citizens based on their race for atrocities by previous generations is institutional racism. Anyone who believes that the Florida College System Presidents have performed their DEI reviews in such a short time frame, most definitely have difficulty understanding “the best defense is a good offense”. Whackadoodle foreign influence conspiracy theories aside, there is plenty of evidence available that demonstrates that DEI training serves nothing more than giving corporations legal protections against discrimination litigation. “Follow the money” should always be one’s first observation, in case the BLM founders accusation of corporate “white guilt” money wasn’t enough. Entities, and there are many, that attempt to divide civilization on the basis of race are indeed racist. Entities that hires protesters, bus them to protest, and then don’t pay are indeed racist. Read the DOJ report on the killing of Michael Brown instead of taking the word of the ignorant camera phone social media junkies – it’ll be hard to scream “conspiracy” in the face of all that data. In the days of expensive newsprint, no one wanted to spend $$ publishing the words of idiots – they’ve been around since the beginning of time – the Internet is free now and the media need their accusations. Black cops beating a black man to death won’t get traction in the news – they should all go to prison. DEI won’t save us – it’ll just give people more reasons to hate – not enough racial progress, too much racial accusation, etc.

  8. James D Keeney

    Those of you who support what Gov. DeSantis is doing need to read, “The Color of Law,” by Richard Rothstein. W.W. Norton & Co., 2017. As a retired member of the Florida Bar, I found the book to be scrupulously careful with its facts (hundreds of footnotes, etc.) and very persuasive with its conclusions. It may change the way you think about American History. It will certainly convince you that the above commentator is far off base.

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