- 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.