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University of Florida Eliminates All D.E.I.-Related Positions

The University of Florida has terminated all positions associated with diversity, equity and inclusion at the school in compliance with new state regulations, according to a university memo released on Friday.

The move comes almost a year after Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida signed a bill that largely banned the state’s public universities and colleges from spending federal or state money on D.E.I. initiatives. In accordance with that law, Florida’s Board of Governors, which oversees the State University System of Florida, also voted to prohibit state spending on such programs at public universities.

The University of Florida’s terminations included closing the office of the chief diversity officer and halting all D.E.I. contracts with outside vendors, according to the announcement on Friday. Thirteen full-time positions were eliminated, along with administrative appointments for 15 faculty members, a spokeswoman for the university said in an email.

The university is just the latest school in the state to eliminate D.E.I. programs. Both the University of North Florida and Florida International University have already removed or started to phase out such programs.

Last year, Florida became one of the first states to enact laws restricting or eliminating D.E.I. initiatives. That prompted other Republican-led states to follow suit, including Texas, where a ban on D.E.I. initiatives and offices at publicly funded universities and colleges took effect on Jan. 1. In Utah, the governor last month signed a bill paring back D.E.I. programs at state universities and in state government. And the Alabama Legislature is considering similar legislation.

Universities across the country have vastly expanded diversity programs in recent decades amid concerns over underrepresentation on campus. Supporters of D.E.I. have said that the initiatives are a good way to foster inclusion and that they help students from all backgrounds succeed on campus.

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