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‘I’m always rejected’: Students criticize diversity, equity and inclusion as discriminatory during DeSantis panel


Daily Caller News Foundation

Two Florida students accused Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) of discriminating against students at colleges during a Monday morning panel led by Republican Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.

The panel, called “Exposing The DEI Scam,” invited several higher education experts to discuss how DEI is embedded in Florida higher education. Two students were invited to speak about their experience as college students and put universities on blast for favoring DEI over merit.

“All of my professors, especially now that I’m in my upper-level classes, every time we make a mistake or a calculation mistake they like to remind us that one mistake could cost the lives of hundreds of people,” Ally Matamorous, a University of South Florida engineering student, said during the panel. “It could be the equivalent of a bridge collapsing. It could be a nuclear explosion, and I feel like moving away from merit-based systems and focusing solely on superficial and the fact that we need to have diversity, you’re opening up the fact that more of these mistakes can happen.”

Matamourous’ position as first generation college student overshadows her merit and has been told by a professor when searching for internships, research projects or grants that she will “she will always make room for a hispanic female no matter the situation or the cause,” she recounted.

Darryl Boyer, a Florida State University law student who earned his undergraduate degree at the University of North Florida, said that DEI is used to make individuals view everything through the lens of race and sexuality. Boyer was a member of the UNF student government and faced impeachment after his peers found out he was a Republican, he said.

“If you don’t fall in those classifications, you don’t belong in the part of inclusion,” Boyer explained. “Rather than dividing our classrooms based on some special classification set forth by the liberal elite, our classrooms should be a collaborative working environment that includes all perspectives, not just the local ideologies and these universities must also remember they are funded by taxpayer dollars.”

Matamorus, too, said that she is “always rejected” from groups on campus for “being a conservative.”

“I believe a classroom should be a collaborative environment and I also believe that everyone’s different perspectives should be valued in a classroom,” Boyer said. “I’m black, I’m a person of color, but I’m also a Republican and … modern day universities today, they say that if you’re a person of color you should identify with the Democratic Party. I’m living proof that that’s not true.”

DeSantis announced in January that he would defund DEI programs at Florida colleges and universities. Data requested by his administration in December 2022 revealed that public universities spent approximately $15 million of taxpayer dollars to fund such initiatives.

The DeSantis administration alleged that the amount could be higher and that universities “misreported” data.

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Republished with permission from Daily Caller News Foundation

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