Students say anti-DEI bill will wipe Latino identity from college campuses
Florida Democratic Party Chair Nikki Fried and student activists are rallying against a bill that would threaten Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiatives, or DEI, at public colleges.
The Postsecondary Educational Institutions Bill or HB 999 would prohibit Florida public universities and colleges from spending money on clubs, activities, and events that promote diversity, equity and inclusion.
It would also restrict the types of classes students could take, and majors and minors they can choose.
Florida State University student Yesenia Yataco is assistant director of the Hispanic/Latinx Student Union at FSU. She said the bill would not only jeopardize the student union, but wipe the campus of its majority Hispanic identity.
“It creates a culture where discrimination and biases are normalized and perpetuated," said Yataco. "These have lasting effects on students’ self esteem, mental health, and academic performance.”
Yataco said the history and culture of Latin America is also a part of American history and Florida culture.
“Our stories, our experiences are fundamental components to the history and culture of this country," said Yataco. "And we deserve to have them acknowledged and valued in the classroom.”
Governor Ron DeSantis says the programs are not inclusive and actually force division and exclusion.
The bill is currently making its way through the legislative process. The governor says he will support it if it makes it to his desk.
Read the bill here.