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Florida College System Presidents Reject ‘Woke’ Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI), Critical Race Theory Ideologies and Embrace Academic Freedom

January 18, 2023

FDOE Press Office

Florida College System Presidents Reject ‘Woke’ Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI), Critical Race Theory Ideologies and Embrace Academic Freedom

~ Florida’s 28 state colleges stand for educational freedom and democratic citizenship ~

Jacksonville, Fla., January 18, 2023 – Today, the Florida College System (FCS) presidents publicly supported Governor Ron DeSantis’ vision of higher education, one free from indoctrination, an environment open to the pursuit of truth and the cultivation of intellectual autonomy for all students. The FCS presidents released a joint statement at Florida’s State Board of Education meeting that rejects the progressivist higher education indoctrination agenda, and commits to removing all woke positions and ideologies by February 1, 2023. This statement makes clear that Florida’s 28 state colleges stand squarely in the camp of educational freedom and democratic citizenship.

“Today’s bold statement by the Florida College System presidents shows their commitment to providing students with higher education opportunities that are free from indoctrination and woke ideology,” said Florida Commissioner of Education Manny Diaz, Jr. “I would like to commend our presidents for ensuring our state colleges are environments where all students can embrace educational freedom and acquire the knowledge and skills necessary for a thriving career.”

“The Florida College System’s mission and purpose is one of opportunity for the underserved, the adult learner, the displaced worker, the single mother or father, really, any resident of the great state of Florida,” said Dr. John Avendano, president of Florida State College of Jacksonville.

Dr. Avendano then proceeded to read the following statement on behalf of the FCS presidents:

“Historically, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives served to increase diversity of thought as well as the enrollment and the success of underrepresented populations and promote the open access mission of our state college system. The presidents of the FCS also understand that some initiatives and instruction in higher education under the same title have come to mean and accomplish the very opposite and seek to push ideologies such as critical race theory and its related tenets.

“To be clear in this environment, the FCS presidents, by and through the FCS Council of Presidents (COP), will ensure that all initiatives, instruction, and activities do not promote any ideology that suppresses intellectual and academic freedom, freedom of expression, viewpoint diversity, and the pursuit of truth in teaching and learning. As such, our institutions will not fund or support any institutional practice, policy, or academic requirement that compels belief in critical race theory or related concepts such as intersectionality, or the idea that systems of oppression should be the primary lens through which teaching and learning are analyzed and/or improved upon. Further, if critical race theory or related concepts are taught as part of an appropriate postsecondary subject’s curriculum, our institutions will only deliver instruction that includes critical race theory as one of several theories and in an objective manner.

“In the development of knowledge, research endeavors, and creative activities, a college faculty and student body must be free to cultivate a spirit of inquiry and scholarly criticism, and to examine ideas in an atmosphere of freedom and confidence, free from shielding and in a nondiscriminatory manner.

“The FCS presidents remain committed to developing campus environments that uphold objectivity in teaching and learning and in professional development and that welcome all voices—environments in which students, faculty, and staff can pursue their academic interests without fear of reprisal or being ‘canceled.’

“The FCS presidents reaffirm our commitment to nondiscrimination in hiring, onboarding and professional development, merit, reason, fairness, civil debate, cultivating intellectual autonomy and equality, and evaluating our successes on the achievements of all students. Further, we renew our commitment to the values that are foundational to our mission and, moreover, to maintaining our country’s common good, for which we as public institutions of higher education share the responsibility. 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.”

To view the full statement, click here:

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