Posted on April 24, 2023

DEI Captures the University of Florida

Christopher Rufo, City Journal, April 6, 2023

The University of Florida has created a radical diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) bureaucracy that promotes racial and political preferences in faculty hiring, encourages white employees to engage with a twelve-step program called Racists Anonymous, and maintains racially segregated scholarship programs that violate federal civil rights law.


These changes happened quickly. Following the death of George Floyd in May 2020, UF leaders rolled out a massive number of diversity-focused initiatives. In July 2020, chief diversity officer Antonio Farias organized a university-wide plan for “antiracism measures,” which included mandatory diversity training for all students, faculty, and staff; an entire academic year focused on “the Black experience, racism and inequity”; a presidential task force to explore the university’s racist past; recommendations for renaming buildings, removing monuments, and banning “historic racist imagery”; and a host of programs, speakers, workshops, and town halls dedicated to racialist ideology.

The programs quickly spread. Under chief diversity officer Marsha McGriff, who replaced Farias in December 2021, DEI blitzed through the university administration. According to internal documents, McGriff’s three-year plan included the creation of an “institutional equity and inclusion blueprint,” the expansion of a university-wide “DEI infrastructure,” and the deployment of DEI cadres to each division, school, and college, to monitor and enforce DEI ideology at every level of the bureaucracy. As part of this program, the embedded cadres were tasked with conducting loyalty surveys, with questionnaires asking faculty and staff to rate their agreement with statements evaluating their unit’s “commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion,” financial support for DEI, and trainings on “unconscious bias” and “micro-aggressions.”

The “institutional equity and inclusion blueprint” has already had a major impact. Slides from a presentation on UF’s six-month “DEI inventory” study, conducted by Damon Williams, a strategist for diversity leadership retained by the university, would appear to show that UF has created 1,018 separate DEI initiatives (slide 55). {snip}

One area of focus for the DEI bureaucrats is to forcibly recompose the racial demographics of the professoriate. In 2021, DEI officials administered a survey to measure affirmative action efforts in faculty hiring and to question departments about their commitment to DEI-style hiring. {snip}


In addition, UF’s Human Resources department has established an “inclusive hiring hub” that offers trainings, guidelines, and an official Inclusive Hiring Badge in support of race-based hiring. As part of this initiative, faculty are encouraged to submit to racial training programs and participate in racially segregated conversation groups, or “affinity groups.” {snip}

How does the HR bureaucracy view white faculty and staff? With derision. In a multi-day training program called Connected by UF, for example, the HR department and gender studies professor Trysh Travis lectured employees about their “white privilege,” “white fragility,” and the “‘unearned advantages’ of whiteness.” These supposed aspects of white racial identity, according to Travis, require “diagnosis” and “follow-up” to achieve a cure. As part of their “personal journey,” white participants were encouraged to engage with a twelve-step program called Racists Anonymous and internalize a series of mantras, including: “We admit our collective history is rooted in white supremacy”; “I have come to admit that I am powerless over my addiction to racism”; “I believe that only a power greater than me can restore me in my humanness to the non-racist creature as God designed me to be.” The ultimate goal? According to one featured resource: “the abolition of whiteness.”


UF’s descent into race-based ideology affects student programs, too. Scholarships and other opportunities have turned into something resembling a spoils system, punishing members of the oppressor class and rewarding members of the oppressed class. The university administers and promotes a range of scholarships that explicitly prohibit whites, and sometimes Asians, from applying. The UF/Santa Fe College Faculty Development Project, Minority Teacher Education Scholarship, and McKnight Doctoral Fellowship, to name a few, all prohibit white students from submitting applications, with the latter also excluding Asian students. {snip}