Biden’s Department of Education opens probe into conservative activist DeSantis asked to purge Florida college of wokeness after he ‘misgendered’ ex-DEI boss who uses ‘ZE/ZIR’ pronouns
- Dept. of Education’s Office for Civil Rights has opened an investigation into DeSantis appointee Chris Rufo and the Florida university where he is a trustee
- The complaint alleges ‘discrimination on the basis of disability’ and was made by unnamed ‘students, faculty, and staff’
- College ‘violated civil rights law removing ‘gender neutral’ signs from bathrooms defunded DEI & gender studies programs, ‘misgendered’ former DEI director
Christopher Rufo, who was hired by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and appointed to the New College of Florida Board of Trustees and tasked with purging the state’s universities of ‘wokeness’ is being investigated by President Biden’s Department of Education.
In a series of tweets posted on Friday night, the activist and scholar told how he was the subject of a civil rights investigation following a complaint after he allegedly ‘misgendered’ the college’s former DEI director, who uses ‘ze/zir’ pseudo-pronouns.
The investigation stems from a complaint by unnamed ‘students, faculty, and staff’ who allege, in part, that the college’s trustees and administrators violated civil rights law.
They are alleged to have done so by removing ‘gender neutral’ signage from bathrooms together with the defunding of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) and Gender Studies programs.
In the complaint, portions of which Rufo posted to X, he is alleged to have ‘mocked and misgendered New College’s Director of Office of Outreach and Inclusive Excellence (OOIE), Rosario-Hernandez, after ze was summarily fired.’
The complaint goes on to reveal how Rufo also pressed criminal charges against a student Catherine ‘Libby’ Harrity for allegedly spitting at him.
In two tweets regarding the case which was eventually dropped, he went on to assert how Harrity used they/them pronouns and then continued to refer to Harrity as ‘she’.
‘Harrity also uses she/her pronouns, so the intended insult reads as particularly belabored,’ the complaint states.
In subsequent tweets Rufo told how the initial civil rights complaint included, as evidence, screenshots of postings made to social media, together with photos alleging how the college administration had removed the words ‘gender neutral’ from a bathroom wall sign.
‘This is the petty tyranny of DEI ideology,’ Rufo declared.
Rufo also stated how the complainants alleged that defunding the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) department and the Gender Studies Program constituted a violation of civil rights law.
‘This is an outrageous attempt to subvert democratic governance and entrench left-wing ideological power under the guise of civil rights,’ Rufo tweeted on Friday night.
Advocates of DEI schemes say they tackle longstanding racist and sexist discrimination in schools and workplaces, but critics say they end up stoking divisions between groups and marginalizing white men.
DeSantis, a Republican running for the GOP nomination in 2024, late last year told Florida’s public universities to disclose all government funds spent toward programs, classes and other initiatives related to DEI and the teaching of critical race theory.
In January, DeSantis appointed Rufo and others to the university as part of his war on ‘wokeness’ in public colleges, a key theme of his 2024 presidential bid.
In May, DeSantis signed a law banning state and federal funding for DEI schemes in public higher education, saying the move would ‘prevent woke ideologies from continuing to co-opt our state universities and state colleges.’
‘This bill says the whole experiment with DEI is coming to an end in the state of Florida,’ said the governor.
In an online blog, Rufo went further still: ‘Although the complaint is wholly without merit, this does not mean it will automatically fail. The Biden Administration has demonstrated repeatedly that it is willing to weaponize the federal law enforcement apparatus against school board parents and other conservative reformers.
‘We are ready for the fight. When Governor DeSantis appointed the new board of trustees, he told us: “If the media isn’t attacking you, you’re not doing your job.”’
For some, DEI schemes are important and necessary, as they can help to overcome historical racism and sexism and make it easier for people of all backgrounds to get ahead in education and work.
Many conservatives say DEI is a form of reverse discrimination that unfairly blows back on white men.
Others say DEI schemes may be well-intentioned, but seldom achieve their desired goals and often make things worse by stirring up divisions in offices and classrooms.
DEI staff now make up more than 3.4 positions for every 100 tenured professors, according to nationwide research by The Heritage Foundation, stoking fears of a ballooning sector that some say is no more than a woke box-ticking exercise.