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This is me speaking about DEI in Tech on Lenovo Late Night I.T. Season 2!

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DEI in 5: Bite-Sized Discussions on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion - Ep9: House Bill 999

Today, I want to talk to you about a recent development in the education sector.

Last week, on Feb 21st, 2023, House Bill 999 was introduced in Florida, which proposes to ban funding for diversity, equity, and inclusion-related initiatives and program at state universities, even if they are privately funded.

The bill has sparked a lot of debates and discussions amongst students, educators and policymakers. If this bill passes, it will have significant implications for education in the state of Florida and possibly the entire country.

There are a few things to note about the proposed bill and these are in no particular order:

Hiring decisions would be made solely by the faculty (meaning university presidents won’t have a say and would only be able to make recommendations), also important to note along with that is that tenure status could be reviewed at any time— and in the world of academia tenure has long been protected. I’ll drop a link to an article that covers this more in depth below.

Universities may also need to rewrite their mission statements. Particularly if anything relevant to DEI is included

The bill proposes to ban any unproven curriculum and American history that is not based on creating a new nation using the principles of the Declaration of Independence. This would mean that majors or minors covering critical race theory, gender studies, and intersectionality would be banned, which could lead to African American studies courses being eliminated. Meaning folks will lose jobs, funding will go, entire schools will have to restructure and so so much more.

It's important to note that House Bill 999 is not the same things as the agenda that Governor Ron DeSantis has been pushing to ban DEI initiatives in higher ed. DeSantis’ “Stop Woke Act” was signed last April and actually took effect last summer, on July 1 2022, however a federal judge paused parts of it in November 2022, preventing it from being enforced at the higher education level

But no worries, that’s where house bill 99 comes in...

If this bill passes, it will have a significant impact not just on education, but also on companies and society as a whole. DEI initiatives have been at the forefront of addressing systemic discrimination and inequality in various industries, and their removal from education could have long-term consequences.

We’re already seeing people pull back on internal DEI in workplaces and industries across the board, so a bill like this will just give permission and validation for people to keep dialing things back, or even ban efforts all together. Of course, it’s a lot more nuanced than that, but this is DEI in 5

I hope this video has helped you understand some of the potential implications of House Bill 999 in Florida. I’ll be keeping an eye out on how the situation unfolds, and will likely do a follow up soon. Please be sure to share this video, like it, and subscribe for more content. DEI in 5 drops every weekday, so be sure to check back tomorrow for more.

Resources for today's discussion:

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