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DEI spending in Florida universities is small after all

 Century Tower, University of Florida
Century Tower, University of Florida

In December 2022, Governor DeSantis’s office mandated that each of the 12 four-year state universities in Florida document their spending on DEI, or diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives, as well as teachings on race. Francie Diep and Emma Pettit, senior reporters at the Chronicle of Higher Education, tracked down the exact numbers, which turned out to be quite small.

“DeSantis’s office asked Florida’s colleges and universities to detail their spending on DEI and critical race theory and so we looked at what the universities sent back in response, and we looked at the amounts that they reported,” Emma Pettit said. “And basically, among the four-year universities, all of them reported amounts for those activities that were one percent or less of their budgets.”

In general, the reporters said, the universities reported initiatives meant to increase diversity of faculty, staff and students, as well as courses that examined race or gender, although each school reported slightly differently.

Each one of the 12 came in at 1 percent or a fraction of 1 percent of their budget. At the flagship University of Florida, with nearly 35,000 undergraduates, just 10 courses in a catalog of thousands were reported as dealing with race.

To get the information, the reporters put in a records request to the state university system and published it January 19 in the Chronicle of Higher Education. Lieutenant Governor Jeannette Nunez has suggested that state leaders are looking at ways to curb DEI initiatives and teaching about racial US history. Last week, the Chronicle of Higher Education reportedthat Governor DeSantis announced that he will "eliminate all DEI and CRT bureaucracies in the state of Florida," without specifying what those bureaucracies are.

Copyright 2023 WGCU. To see more, visit WGCU.

Cary Barbor