In Education

‘I Didn’t Think It Would Be This Quick’: Another Florida School Terminates Its Chief Diversity Official

A public college in Florida will axe a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion administrative position at the end of the semester, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune reported.

State College of Florida (SCF) terminated Dr. Brenda Pinkney, current DEI director and tenured faculty member, because it will not renew the position in June, Pinkney told the Herald-Tribune on Thursday. The decision was reportedly made earlier this week, and Pinkney speculates that it was made in response to legislative efforts to crack down on DEI presence on college campuses in the Sunshine State.

The Florida Legislature is currently considering bill that would upend higher education through several different reforms, including ridding state colleges and universities of DEI majors, minors, activities and programs, according to its text. House Bill 999 is currently in the state House of Representatives before the Education & Employment Committee.

“Once the bill was introduced I started to wonder how the college was going to handle me … I thought it would be quick, but I didn’t think it would be this quick,” Pinkney told the Herald-Tribune. “It has been heart-wrenching watching and waiting. I’m disappointed, but it is what it is. The decision has been made.”

Pinkney worked at the university for almost forty years after being hired in July 1984, the Herald-Tribune reported. She was appointed to her current position in October 2020, but was recently told by university officials that there was no more funding for her role.

“As a standard practice and out of respect for our employees, we do not publicly discuss their performance, employment, or contracts,” Jamie Smith, SCF associate vice president of communications, told the Herald-Tribune.

SFC is not the first school to begin trimming its DEI presence on campus. New College of Florida (NCF) Interim President Richard Corcoran terminated its chief diversity officer earlier this month after the Board of Trustees voted in February to rid its Office of Outreach and Inclusive Excellence.

The four NCF employees were supposed to be given alternative roles at the college. It is similarly unclear why the offer was not provided to Pinkney, according to the Herald-Tribune.

“Unfortunately, it’s the times in which we live in … it’s history repeating itself,” Pinkney told the Herald-Tribune.

SCF and Pinkney did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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Alexa Schwerha

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Alexa Schwerha

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