Florida State University has adopted a series of “diversity, equity, and inclusion” programs that divides Americans along a “matrix of oppression,” castigates Christians for their “Christian privilege,” and offers a racially segregated scholarship that deliberately bars white students from applying.
Officially, Florida State officials have claimed in a recent report to Governor Ron DeSantis that they support 23 separate DEI programs and initiatives. But beneath the surface, the ideology has embedded itself everywhere in the university.
I have obtained documents through public searches and Sunshine Law requests that reveal a sprawling bureaucracy, dedicated to promoting left-wing racial narratives, including a seemingly endless array of programs, departments, trainings, certificates, committees, statements, grants, groups, clubs, reports, and initiatives.
One representative program is “Social Justice Ally Training,” hosted by Student Equity & Inclusion Director Sierra Turner and the Center for Leadership & Social Change. The program provides a basic recapitulation of the critical-race-theory narrative: white, patriarchal Western societies have created a “Cycle of Socialization” that has resulted in “racism, classism, religious oppression, sexism, heterosexism, gender oppression, ableism, ageism & adultism, and xenophobia.”
The trainers make the case that, in the United States, “whites” are the racial group responsible for the “systematic subordination of members of targeted racial groups who have relatively little power.” Whites are also guilty of “cultural racism,” or the creation and maintenance of social structures that “overtly and covertly attribute normality to white people and Whiteness.” By definition, no other group can be racist—“institutional racism” can only “create advantages and benefits for Whites.”
Christians, too, represent an oppressor class. They have created “Christian hegemony,” which “normalizes Christian values as intrinsic to an explicitly American identity,” and have instituted a regime of “religious oppression” and the “systematic subordination of minority religions.” Consequently, Christians must atone for their “Christian privilege,” the training suggests, because of, for example, their “close-minded hatred, fear, or prejudice towards Islam and Muslims.”
The training divides participants into “dominant groups” and “subordinate groups.” Dominant groups—whites, men, Christians, heterosexuals—are told that they are at the apex of the “matrix of oppression,” but if they submit to social-justice ideology, they can seek redemption through “identity development.” They are told that they begin their journey as “selfish,” unable to “see privilege,” “not interested in the system,” and hoping to “maintain the status quo.” But the oppressor class can eventually overcome its nature and work to “consciously [use] unearned privilege against self” and “destroy the system.”
Beyond training programs, DEI ideology at Florida State has also become pervasive in nearly every academic department. The business school has pledged to create an award for “DEI heroes.” The classics department has released a statement in support of Black Lives Matter. The art history department has adopted a “land acknowledgement” that portrays white Europeans as illegal settlers. And the sociology department has created an entire course, “Critical Race Theory,” that presents left-wing racialism as the gospel truth and assigns readings that traffic in overt racial hostility, such as “Whiteness as Pathological Narcissism,” with no competing opinions anywhere to be found. “Do not let the constraints of the discipline stop you from being the radical you want to be,” the syllabus reads.
At the administrative level, the DEI bureaucracy also serves as a filter to exclude anyone who does not commit to social-justice ideology. Some departments at FSU now require potential faculty to submit “diversity statements”—best understood as loyalty oaths to left-wing racialism—as part of the application process. Likewise, some academic programs also require graduate students to pledge allegiance to DEI in order to gain admission into the department.
The result of all these programs is a racial and ideological spoils system, in which groups are rewarded or punished based on their identity and political orientation, rather than their academic merit. Following this system of race-based judgement, Florida State even offers scholarships that explicitly exclude white students. The Delores Auzenne Assistantship for Minorities, for example, is designated solely for “African-American, Hispanic, Asian or Pacific Islander, and Native-American” graduate students—no European-Americans need apply.
The end goal of DEI ideology is to move everyone in the university’s orbit toward partisan political activism. In the Social Justice Ally Training, the university makes its desire clear: participants are directly encouraged to engage in “structural change activism” and “lobbying for policy change,” including “petition drives, picketing, performance art, teach-ins, vigils, overloading administrative systems, rent withholding, strikes, walk-outs, protests, marches, blacklisting, slow downs, sit downs, dumping, [and] demonstrations.”
Knowledge, it seems, has been displaced as the core mission of this university. At Florida State, the diversity commissars have busied themselves making radical politics—administrated by the bureaucracy and imposed downward on students, faculty, and staff—the highest principle.
Originally published in City Journal.