Florida college drops diversity training to comply with state law

Daily Caller News Foundation

A Florida college announced earlier this week it would no longer offer a voluntary diversity training for faculty, ensuring its programming complies with a state law prohibiting content that could be considered discriminatory, the Associated Press reported.

Valencia College President Kathleen Plinske said in an email to faculty that the school needed time to review the material in its faculty development courses to ensure that it complied with Florida’s “Stop WOKE Act,” AP reported. The Stop WOKE Act, signed by DeSantis in April 2022, maintains that a person cannot be compelled to “believe specified concepts constitutes discrimination based on race, color, sex, or national origin,” according to its text.

The bill specifically prohibits “subjecting any student or employee to training or instruction” which teaches such concepts. Plinske reportedly wrote in the email to faculty that the course would only be halted for the spring semester and that courses may become available after it completes its review, according to AP.

The Stop WOKE Act faced mass criticism after its enrollment and was temporarily put on ice by a federal judge in Tallahassee in November 2022, AP reported. It is reportedly facing two additional challenges.

Carlos Guillermo Smith, a former Florida lawmaker, tweeted on Jan. 21 screenshots showing that Valencia College eliminated two faculty courses titled “Introduction to Implicit Bias” and “Microaggressions in the Learning Environment.”

DeSantis made education a staple of his administration and specifically has set his focus on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) and Critical Race Theory (CRT) on college campuses. Recently, his administration requested reports from public colleges and universities in the state about how much it spends on such programming.

The administration later requested information about the number of people public universities treat for “gender dysphoria.”

Valencia and Guillermo Smith did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment. The Governor’s Office deferred the DCNF’s request to the college.

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