DeSantis probe reveals steep DEI expenses for Florida medical schools to receive accreditation

An analysis of DEI spending in the State University System of Florida reveals that medical schools must engage in DEI efforts for accreditation, a common practice in other professions.

The University of Florida College of Medicine spent $721,671 on administrators to implement DEI efforts such as recruitment and retention.

An analysis of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) spending in the State University System of Florida (SUSF) reveals that medical schools must engage in DEI efforts for accreditation. 

DEI requirements have become common in the Engineering Accreditation Commission, the American Psychological Association (APA), and other accrediting bodies. In the SUSF, medical schools cite accreditation requirements for spending six figures on the salaries of DEI administrators. 

full account of SUSF schools’ spending on DEI first surfaced in The Independent Florida Alligator, the University of Florida (UF) student newspaper. Each university responded to Gov. Ron DeSantis’ demands that SUSF and the Florida College System send descriptions of DEI-affiliated programs and activities, staff, and expenses by January 13. 

Colleges and universities also had to provide the amount of their state-funded DEI spending, which totaled $15 million for SUSF schools, according to Campus Reform

UF, the University of Central Florida (UCF), and Florida International University (FIU) reported paying DEI staff to comply with requirements from the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME). 

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“To fulfill LCME accreditation standards for undergraduate medical education programs,” UF “establishes effective policies and practices and engages in ongoing, systematic, and focused recruitment and retention activities to achieve mission-appropriate diversity outcomes,” according to the official DEI spending report.

The UF College of Medicine (COM) Office for Diversity & Health Equity (ODHE) employs an associate dean, assistant deans, and administrative support assistants to implement DEI initiatives. The document shows that their DEI roles cost $721,671. 

UCF similarly reported spending $502,832 on staffing its medical school’s DEI office, with $372,750 coming from state funding. FIU cited LCME standard 3.3 in spending $154,747.36 to staff its DEI office

Standard 3.3 for the 2022-2023 and 2023-2024 academic years describes “Diversity/Pipeline Programs and Partnerships.” 

“A medical school has effective policies and practices in place, and engages in ongoing, systematic, and focused recruitment and retention activities, to achieve mission-appropriate diversity outcomes among its students, faculty, senior administrative staff, and other relevant members of its academic community,” the standard reads. 

“These activities include the use of programs and/or partnerships aimed at achieving diversity among qualified applicants for medical school admission and the evaluation of program and partnership outcomes.” 

Florida’s medical schools are not alone in fulfilling DEI accreditation standards. Florida A&M University (FAMU) and the University of South Florida (USF) (the biggest DEI spender, according to Campus Reform) cite accreditation standards for DEI initiatives and staff. 

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UCF also reported spending $400,000 on faculty recruitment “from underrepresented groups” by using “a search exemption,” or a hiring practice that foregoes competitive recruitment. 

Currently there is a gap between the diversity of scholars with doctoral degrees and the diversity of our tenure-track/tenured faculty and the university is required to work to close the gap and report progress in the annual Florida Equity Report,” the document said, referring to the required report that UCF and other universities submit to the Florida Board of Governors

“UCF will be better positioned to realize the varied academic benefits of a diverse tenure-track/tenured faculty by making additional resources available for important hiring opportunities.” 

Campus Reform contacted all relevant parties for comment and will update this article accordingly.