State University System of Florida Reports $34.5M in DEI Spending

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis last month demanded every public higher education institution to file a list of their spending related to critical race theory and diversity, equity, and inclusion.
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  • Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis last month demanded that every public higher education institution file a list of their spending related to diversity, equity, and inclusion, and critical race theory.
  • The 28 Florida College System universities and the 12 State University System universities all complied.
  • Officials at the state's public high education institutions say they are still uncertain why the governor requested this information or what will be done with the data.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis now knows how much every public higher education institution in the state spends on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), and critical race theory (CRT).

What he intends to do with that information remains an open question.

In the final days of 2022, DeSantis demanded that all state colleges and universities, as well as Florida's Department of Education, report their spending on diversity, equity, and inclusion and critical race theory-related programming to his budget office by Jan. 13.

University of Florida spokesperson Cynthia Roldan told the Independent Florida Alligator, the university's student-run newspaper, that the institution – the system's second largest by enrollment – hasn't been provided direction by the state on how their report will be used.

While the 28 universities in the Florida College System and the 12 State University System universities all complied, only the spending by the State University System has been released to the public.

Those 12 institutions reported spending about $34.5 million in total, according to a 35-page document released by the Florida Department of Education.

The expenses reported range from $63 spent on a graduation ceremony honoring LGBTQ+ students and allies at Florida Gulf Coast University to $4.12 million spent by the University of South Florida on Upward Bound, a program that provides mentorship, tutoring, and counseling for low-income, first-generation prospective students.

Here's how much the 12 Florida State University System institutions spent on DEI and CRT.

The University of South Florida (USF) spent the most on DEI and CRT, reporting some $8.7 million spent, $2.5 million of which was funded by the state. The institution's Diversity and Inclusion Office accounted for just over one million dollars of that spending. It also invested in programs such as a Supplier Diversity Program, which aims to connect small, minority-owned businesses in Tampa Bay with opportunities within USF.

Next in line was the University of Florida (UF), which spent about $5.3 million, $3.4 million of which was state-funded. According to the Independent Florida Alligator, that $5.3 million figure accounts for just 0.14% of the university's annual budget. UF reported spending on 10 different courses, including "Language in the USA" and "Impact of Disabilities."

Out of the $4.5 million dollars spent by the University of Central Florida (UCF), the system's largest institution by enrollment, $1.7 million was dedicated to diversity in sports, such as the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports.

Florida A&M, a historically Black college and university (HBCU) in Tallahassee, spent $4.4 million, and all but $273,000 was provided by the state. Expenditures listed included $4,000 for student inclusion events like Hispanic Heritage Month and a Thanksgiving Food Drive and over $1.6 million for the Institute for Public Health, which aims to improve the health of underserved Floridians.

The University of North Florida (UNF) spent about $3.5 million, while Florida International University (FIU) spent $3.1 million. The largest expenditures at both institutions were their respective Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion offices.

Florida State University was seventh on the list, reporting $2.4 million in spending on programs and classes such as "Environmental Justice" and "Topics in Buddhism." Nearly all of that spending was funded by the state.

The University of West Florida (UWF) reported 18 different entries for "Diversity Programs" including a Coming Out Day celebration, a Holocaust Remembrance Event, and the Title IX and Equal Opportunity offices. The university spent just over $909,000, $806,0000 of which was state funding.

At nearly the same cost, Florida Atlantic University (FAU) in Boca Raton funded student affairs efforts like the Women and Gender Equity Resource Office and diversity training for the Counseling and Psychological Services program. In total, FAU spent $904,000, nearly $643,000 of which was from the state.

Florida Gulf Coast (FGC) had several relatively lower-priced programs, including $820 spent on a Dia De Los Muertos celebration and $1,800 spent on Alternative Break, which exposes students to off-campus injustices during typical breaks throughout the year. In total, FGC reported spending $382,000.

The New College of Florida, which DeSantis is attempting to transform through the appointment of six new trustees, spent $290,000 on diversity-related programs, and Florida Polytechnic University spent just under $9,000, the least amount spent by any of the 12 universities.