Emmit Smith blasts Florida over DEI office closure

Emmit Smith blasts Florida over DEI office closure

NFL veteran Emmitt Smith tells UF athletes to speak out against the school's plan to close its diversity, equality, and inclusion office.

According to a Friday administrative email, the University of Florida terminated the Office of the Chief Diversity Officer, “eliminated DEI positions and administrative appointments, and halted DEI-focused contracts with outside vendors.”

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis banned schools from using state cash for DEI programs in 2023. Board of Governors of Florida endorsed measure. According to ABC News, DEI is “any program, campus activity, or policy that classifies individuals on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, gender identity, or sexual orientation and promotes differential or preferential treatment of such individuals.”

Smith criticized the university's politically driven DEI office closure.

I abhor UF's judgment and its precedent. Without DEI, the Office of the Provost, which already has their hands full raising money for the institution and advancing academic studies and sports activities, takes over, he tweeted on Sunday (March 3), Revolt reported.

Smith continued, “We cannot continue to believe and trust that a team of leaders from the same background will make the right equality and diversity decision. History shows otherwise. Our university needs different ideas and perspectives, and the DEI department helps us achieve that.”

Smith asked “the many minority athletes at UF” to “please be aware and vocal about this decision by the university, [which] is now closing the doors on other minorities without any oversight.”

He said, “And to those who think it's not your problem and stay on the sidelines and say nothing, you support systemic issues.”

Smith said the institution catered “to the political pressure of today’s time.”

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