- Florida universities “under-reported” how much taxpayer money is spent on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) and Critical Race Theory (CRT) programming, according to Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration.
- Public universities outlined their line-by-line spending to comply with a December request by the Office of Policy and Budget to determine how much taxpayer money was allocated toward these initiatives.
- “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,” Bryan Griffin, DeSantis’ press secretary, wrote in an email sent to the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Florida universities “misreported” or “under-reported” the amount they spent on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) and Critical Race Theory (CRT) programming on campus, Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration alleged Thursday afternoon.
The state Office of Policy and Budget requested Dec. 28 each state public university submit a report detailing how public funds were used to support DEI and CRT initiatives — which reportedly tallied over $28 million in total at the university level including approximately $15 million of taxpayer money. The administration, however, claims that the total amount reported “revealed an extraordinary misuse of taxpayer dollars to promote a political agenda at the expense of academic focus,” Bryan Griffin, DeSantis’ press secretary, said in an email sent to the Daily Caller News Foundation.
“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,” Griffin wrote. “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.”
University of Florida’s (UF) Youth Gender Program, which offers services for social and medial transitioning, was allegedly not included in the report, according to the DeSantis administration. The program “is for transgender and gender-nonconforming, or TGNC, youth and their families” and provides “consultation, psychotherapy, and assessment of medical readiness for cross-sex hormone therapy,” according to its website.
Universities also spent taxpayer money to fund social justice related documents that were distributed on campus, the DeSantis administration revealed. Florida State University (FSU) created a “Social Justice Ally” workbook that instructed students to “confront” their guilt, while University of South Florida (USF) established an “Antiracist Resources” document that includes an ongoing list about things that “White People Can Do for Racial Justice” which is currently up to 106 recommendations.
The resource list consists of other books, podcasts, people and organizations white people can refer to “on [their] journey to antiracism.”
The FSU workbook, obtained by the DCNF, accompanies a two-day training and includes categories such as “developing awareness,” “developing knowledge of self & others” and “using action toward becoming an ally.”
“The mission of the Social Justice Ally Training program is to educate members of the Florida State community about issues related to social justice in order to develop allies who will promote an equitable and inclusive environment and serve as social change agents in a diverse and global society,” the packet reads.
Universities outlined line-by-line how much taxpayer money was spent on DEI and CRT initiatives, according to the State University System (SUS) of Florida report. Large sums of money were allocated toward diversity offices and staff members.
UF spent more than $750,000 state funds to its chief diversity officer and staff, the report read. The University of Central Florida paid its vice president for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and its assistant $445,000 annually at the expense of taxpayers.
Diversity offices at the USF and Florida International University cost more than $1 million in taxpayer dollars, according to the report. Florida A&M University’s Center for Environmental Equity and Justice cost taxpayers $1.8 million per year
“This speaks directly to the issue raised by the governor at the press conference on January 31st in Sarasota: these DEI and CRT bureaucracies are large, bloated, and self-serving,” Griffin said in the email. “Nonetheless, what was reported revealed an extraordinary misuse of taxpayer dollars to promote a political agenda at the expense of academic focus.”
The universities and SUS did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.
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