College halts diversity training to comply with DeSantis law

Valencia College pauses program for the spring semester as it conducts review

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ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — An optional training class on diversity for faculty at a central Florida public college has been canceled so administrators can ensure it complies with a new state law known as the “Stop Woke” act.

Valencia College President Kathleen Plinske wrote in an email to faculty members earlier this week that the school needs time to review the faculty development courses to ensure they comply with the law championed by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Governor Ron DeSantis gestures during a news conference where he spoke of new law enforcement legislation that will be introduced during the upcoming session, Thursday, Jan. 26, 2023, in Miami. (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier)

The law prohibits teaching or business practices that contend members of one ethnic group are inherently racist and should feel guilt for past actions committed by others. It also bars the notion that a person’s status as privileged or oppressed is necessarily determined by their race or gender, or that discrimination is “acceptable” to achieve diversity.

The school’s decision only applies for the spring semester and the courses may be offered at a later date after a review, Plinske said in the email.

A federal judge in Tallahassee last November issued a temporary injunction against the law, and the measure is being challenged in two other cases.

While promoting the law, which applies to a range of trainings and instrucion, DeSantis called critical race theory a “pernicious” ideology. Opponents say DeSantis doesn’t have an accurate idea of what critical race theory is, and argue that his motives are to suppress an accurate account of Black history.

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