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Florida College System presidents reject ‘woke’ ideologies in support of Governor DeSantis' vision

Annelise Capossela for NPR

A joint statement by presidents of the Florida College System (FCS) Wednesday publicly supported Governor Ron DeSantis’ vision of higher education, "one free from indoctrination, an environment open to the pursuit of truth and the cultivation of intellectual autonomy for all students."

The FCS is comprised of28 public community and state colleges, including Florida Southwestern State College in Fort Myers, South Florida State College in Avon Park, collectively serving nearly 650,000 students, annually.

Each college is statutorily assigned one or more counties that comprise the college’s “district” or service area. Constitutionally, each college is governed by a district board of trustees appointed by the governor.

The FCS presidents released the joint statement at Florida’s State Board of Education meeting that rejected, "the progressivist higher education indoctrination agenda, and commits to removing all woke positions and ideologies by February 1, 2023. This statement makes clear that Florida’s 28 state colleges stand squarely in the camp of educational freedom and democratic citizenship."

A Florida Gulf Coast University representative said the university was in the State University System and not a part of the FCS. There was no response to a request for comment from Florida SouthWestern State College.

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“Today’s bold statement by the Florida College System presidents shows their commitment to providing students with higher education opportunities that are free from indoctrination and woke ideology,” said Florida Commissioner of Education Manny Diaz, Jr. “I would like to commend our presidents for ensuring our state colleges are environments where all students can embrace educational freedom and acquire the knowledge and skills necessary for a thriving career.”

“The Florida College System’s mission and purpose is one of opportunity for the underserved, the adult learner, the displaced worker, the single mother or father, really, any resident of the great state of Florida,” said Dr. John Avendano, president of Florida State College of Jacksonville.

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