- Florida House Speaker Paul Renner requested documents and information pertaining to diversity, equality, and inclusion (DEI) offices, programs, and staff at universities statewide
- According to Renner’s office, the request is an inquiry about the use of “political considerations” in developing curriculum and hiring staff members
- The request builds upon a memo sent to universities by Gov. Ron DeSantis and the state Department of Education mandating documentation and reporting of expenditures related to DEI activities and programs
- Renner stated in his request that he seeks to work with the state legislature to establish guidelines to provide students with a “well-rounded education”
State lawmakers will look further into the presence of diversity, equality, and inclusion (DEI) offices and programs on college campuses throughout the state after House Speaker Paul Renner requested records and information on financial outlays connected to the initiatives.
The motion, according to Renner’s office, “seeks answers about the use of political considerations in the development of curriculum, hiring, and promotion of faculty and other inappropriate activities.”
“Colleges and universities have an obligation to foster diversity of thought on their campuses and be good stewards of state dollars,” said Renner. “The Florida House of Representatives has a responsibility to understand how state resources are being allocated across state universities and colleges.”
Renner’s request supplements an announcement made by Gov. Ron DeSantis last week that he is requiring all State University System members to report expenditures and resources utilized for campus activities related to diversity, equity and inclusion, and critical race theory programs or curriculum.
As part of the process, each institution must provide a description of the activity or program, faculty positions involved with such events, the total spending towards the listed occasion, and of the total amount, a specification of how much was extracted from state-provided funding.
DeSantis’ memo, facilitated and enforced by Commissioner Manny Diaz and State University System Chancellor Ray Rodrigues, does not outline how the reported expenditures will shape future budget allocations for individual universities, though it can be anticipated that steps will be taken to decrease funding levels from institutions that use what the state will deem as a high rate of state funding to subsidize the programs.
When reached for comment, the Office of the Governor told The Capitolist that the documentation was a “fact-finding” process without any further explanation.
Now, with Renner’s request for documents and information related to DEI programs, lawmakers could introduce legislation to regulate permitted school-sponsored groups, programs, or events.
“We will maintain our top rankings by staying focused on the knowledge, skills, and research that higher education should provide,” continued Renner. “However, we compromise higher education if we follow other states that allow DEI staff to act as political commissars over campus life. We intend to end this improper influence and re-focus on pathways to success for our graduates.”
The Capitolist attempted to contact Speaker Renner for more information on the requests but did not receive an immediate response.