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The Florida Senate

Minority Office — Press Release


May 15, 2023

CONTACT: Jossie Barroso, (850) 487-5611

STATEMENT: Florida Senate Democrats Respond to the Governor Signing SB 266: Higher Education

Tallahassee —

Today, in response to the Governor signing SB 266: Higher Education, which in part bans funding of diversity, equity and inclusion programs at our state colleges and universities, several members of the Senate Democratic Caucus shared these statements:


Senate Democratic Leader Lauren Book (D-Davie) said, “Once again, it’s freedom for me but not for thee. This new law will hurt our public universities – limiting freedom of thought and hurting the stability of university and college professors. Governor DeSantis is treating freedom of speech as an enemy, and the Legislature allowed his partisan politics to get in the way of initiatives that have progressed us as a nation to allow students from diverse backgrounds and experiences be included in places where historically they have not been accepted.” 

Senator Geraldine Thompson (D-Orlando) shared, “Florida may realize a brain drain as African-American students and professors make decisions about the type of climate they want to function in. The anti-DEI legislation projects an unwelcoming environment.”

Senator Shevrin Jones (D-Miami Gardens) said, “As Governor DeSantis prepares to launch his looming presidential campaign, it’s no wonder he’s continuing to throw red meat to his base, all at the cost of representation and participation of millions of Floridians. Indoctrination drives the DeSantis Agenda – not because he is worried educators are indoctrinating students, but because they aren’t indoctrinating them with HIS ideology. This is sadly the latest example of government overreach into Florida classrooms as his administration continues its authoritarian assault on ideas and information.”

Senator Rosalind Osgood (D-Tamarac) responded, “We must allow for the teaching of diversity, equity and inclusion, especially at the college and university level if we are to continue to grow as a people. Otherwise we are doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past.”

Senator Tracie Davis (D-Jacksonville) said, “History cannot be taught without context - the context is what makes these events significant. This bill undercuts education and whitewashes history by disregarding that history is complex and nuanced. To shrink history down to the letters on the page, refuse to acknowledge the existence of racism, sexism and oppression, and the chilling effect this will have on student organizations, particularly for already marginalized groups, is blatantly ignoring the fact that this is government overreach, trying to control how and what an adult learns in higher education.”

Several Senators will also share more detailed statements to your inboxes. If you would like to interview one of these Senators on SB 266, please reach out to me at or you can also reach out to their district offices to set up an interview.