Governor Ron DeSantis Unveils Proposal to Promote Civil Discourse and Intellectual Freedom in Higher Education
SARASOTA, Fla. — Governor Ron DeSantis has unveiled legislation aimed at elevating civil discourse and intellectual freedom in higher education in the 2023 Session. The proposal aims to counteract the suppression of free thought by liberal elites in the name of identity politics and indoctrination. The legislation will ensure that Florida’s public universities and colleges promote Western Civilization and its history and philosophy, ban discriminatory programs such as DEI and CRT, and align university education with the needs of the constitutional republic and Florida’s workforce.
“In Florida, we will promote liberty and the Western tradition by realigning core curriculum, eliminating politicized bureaucracies, increasing research funding for key industries, and giving presidents and boards of trustees more control over faculty hiring,” said Governor DeSantis.
The Chancellor of the State University System of Florida, Ray Rodrigues, praised the Governor’s commitment to providing students with a high-quality education free from ideological agendas. Florida Lottery Secretary John F. Davis also expressed his agreement with the Governor’s proposal, stating that it will give all students the opportunity to succeed regardless of their background.
The 2023 legislative proposal builds on reforms made in the 2022 Legislative Session, including dismantling accreditation agency monopolies, increasing faculty accountability, and improving the transition between state colleges and universities. The 2023 proposal will:
- Require the State University System Board of Governors and the State Board of Education to review and realign general education courses to ensure they are historically accurate, foundational, and career-relevant, without suppressing or distorting significant historical events or teaching identity politics
- Prohibit higher education institutions from using funding for DEI, CRT, and other discriminatory initiatives
- Give institutions’ presidents and boards of trustees control over hiring and retention decisions, without interference from unions and faculty committees
- Allow institutions to conduct post-tenure reviews of faculty members with cause
- Prohibit discrimination in the hiring process, including political loyalty oaths and DEI statements
- Require preeminent state research universities to allocate annual research expenditures of $50 million or more for STEM-related fields in Florida
- Align university missions with the needs of the constitutional republic and Florida’s workforce
- Clarify the responsibilities of FSU’s Florida Institute of Politics and FIU’s Adam Smith Center for the Study of Economic Freedom
Governor DeSantis has also included $15 million to overhaul and restructure New College of Florida, $5 million for operations and $13 million for capital needs for the Hamilton College for Classical and Civic Education at the University of Florida, and $100 million in performance funding for faculty recruitment and retention at state universities in the 2023-2024 budget recommendations.
The announcement was made at the State College of Florida, one of 28 state colleges in Florida that agreed to end all discriminatory DEI and CRT initiatives by February 1, 2023.