Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Gov. Ron DeSantis Cleaning House — A Court Just Ruled That He CAN Order Colleges to Turn Over ‘Diversity’ Training and Spending Information

By BCN Senior Editor

Photo credit: Gage Skidmore

Ron DeSantis, the governor of super-red Florida, signed into law the Stop WOKE Act, which took effect on July 1, 2022. The law bans divisive racial indoctrination in businesses with 15 or more employees and in taxpayer-supported educational institutions in the state.

Under the law, employees have a cause of action to file discrimination claims if they are required to attend mandatory training that instructs in so-called critical race theory (CRT) and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) concepts.

CRT teaches that groups and individuals are inferior or superior to others based on race, ethnicity, sex or religion, and that by virtue of their race, ethnicity, sex or religion, certain people are inherently responsible for the actions committed in the past by their ancestors.

As anti-CRT activist Chris Rufo said, this training deals with racial stereotypes, compels speech, and creates hostile working environments, and is “illegal under the Civil Rights Act and unconstitutional under the law.”

A federal judge last November issued a preliminary injunction that blocked parts of the law that pertain to colleges and universities.

Gov. DeSantis recently asked colleges and universities for an accounting: turn over all information about CRT and DEI programs, including staff lists, campus activities, and money spent. Opponents accused the governor of violating the injunction. But the same judge who issued the injunction ruled last week that Gov. DeSantis’s order did not violate it.

From the Orlando Sentinel (emphasis added):

The plaintiffs’ request focused on a Dec. 28 memo issued by Chris Spencer, head of DeSantis’ Office of Policy and Budget, directing colleges and universities to “provide a comprehensive list of all staff, programs and campus activities related to diversity, equity and inclusion and critical race theory.”

In a “motion to compel” filed Wednesday, the plaintiffs argued that compliance with Spencer’s memo would violate the preliminary injunction order.

“Although this court would not hesitate to compel compliance with its preliminary injunction, this court finds there has been no violation of the injunction at this time,” [Judge Mark Walker] wrote.