Chief Diversity Officer - University of Florida

Introduction to HB 7

This page provides information about Florida’s HB 7 law as it relates to academic instruction and employee training, and makes recommendations about how to remain within the law’s requirements. These recommendations make clear that faculty can continue to address the full spectrum of academic topics in their classes and trainers can continue to provide instruction that advances our diversity and inclusion goals and values. As we adhere to the law, we will be guided by the university’s core values, specifically those that emphasize community, freedom and civility, and inclusion. At UF, we work together, embrace a range of viewpoints, and celebrate differences as we strive for intellectual excellence.

This page will be updated periodically as new information and guidance becomes available.

Below are excerpts from HB 7, SB 2524 and related legislation, specific guidance related to academic instruction and employee training, and a series of FAQs.

For questions, please email uf-cdo@ufl.edu. Also, you can use the links below to jump to specific page sections.

HB 7 and Related Legislation

Recommendations for the UF Community

FAQs

HB 7 and Related Legislation

House Bill 7 2022 (HB 7) was passed by the Florida Legislature and signed by the Governor in 2022. Effective July 1, 2022, HB 7 amends two statutes that apply to the University - the Florida Educational Equity Act (Fla. Stat. § 1000.05) and the Florida Civil Rights Act (Fla. Stat. § 760.10). As amended, the Florida Educational Equity Act and the Florida Civil Rights Act make it unlawful discrimination to subject a student or employee to training or instruction that espouses, promotes, advances, inculcates, or compels such student or employee to believe any of the eight concepts listed in HB 7.

Fla. Stat. § 1000.05 - Florida Educational Equity Act

Florida Educational Equity Act

1000.05 Discrimination against students and employees in the Florida K-20 public education system prohibited; equality of access required.

(1) This section may be cited as the “Florida Educational Equity Act.”
(2)(a) Discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, religion, or marital status against a student or an employee in the state system of public K-20 education is prohibited. No person in this state shall, on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, religion, or marital status, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any public K-20 education program or activity, or in any employment conditions or practices, conducted by a public educational institution that receives or benefits from federal or state financial assistance.
(b) The criteria for admission to a program or course shall not have the effect of restricting access by persons of a particular race, color, national origin, sex, disability, religion, or marital status.
(c) All public K-20 education classes shall be available to all students without regard to race, color, national origin, sex, disability, religion, or marital status; however, this is not intended to eliminate the provision of programs designed to meet the needs of students with limited proficiency in English, gifted students, or students with disabilities or programs tailored to students with specialized talents or skills.
(d) Students may be separated by sex for a single-gender program as provided under s. 1002.311, for any portion of a class that deals with human reproduction, or during participation in bodily contact sports. For the purpose of this section, bodily contact sports include wrestling, boxing, rugby, ice hockey, football, basketball, and other sports in which the purpose or major activity involves bodily contact.
(e) Guidance services, counseling services, and financial assistance services in the state public K-20 education system shall be available to students equally. Guidance and counseling services, materials, and promotional events shall stress access to academic and career opportunities for students without regard to race, color, national origin, sex, disability, religion, or marital status.
(3)(a) No person shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participating in, be denied the benefits of, or be treated differently from another person or otherwise be discriminated against in any interscholastic, intercollegiate, club, or intramural athletics offered by a public K-20 educational institution; and no public K-20 educational institution shall provide athletics separately on such basis.
(b) Notwithstanding the requirements of paragraph (a), a public K-20 educational institution may operate or sponsor separate teams for members of each sex if the selection for such teams is based upon competitive skill or the activity involved is a bodily contact sport. However, when a public K-20 educational institution operates or sponsors a team in a particular sport for members of one sex but does not operate or sponsor such a team for members of the other sex, and athletic opportunities for that sex have previously been limited, members of the excluded sex must be allowed to try out for the team offered.
(c) This subsection does not prohibit the grouping of students in physical education classes and activities by ability as assessed by objective standards of individual performance developed and applied without regard to sex. However, when use of a single standard of measuring skill or progress in a physical education class has an adverse effect on members of one sex, the educational institution shall use appropriate standards which do not have such effect.
(d) A public K-20 educational institution which operates or sponsors interscholastic, intercollegiate, club, or intramural athletics shall provide equal athletic opportunity for members of both sexes.
1. The Board of Governors shall determine whether equal opportunities are available at state universities.
2. The Commissioner of Education shall determine whether equal opportunities are available in school districts and Florida College System institutions. In determining whether equal opportunities are available in school districts and Florida College System institutions, the Commissioner of Education shall consider, among other factors:
a. Whether the selection of sports and levels of competition effectively accommodate the interests and abilities of members of both sexes.
b. The provision of equipment and supplies.
c. Scheduling of games and practice times.
d. Travel and per diem allowances.
e. Opportunities to receive coaching and academic tutoring.
f. Assignment and compensation of coaches and tutors.
g. Provision of locker room, practice, and competitive facilities.
h. Provision of medical and training facilities and services.
i. Provision of housing and dining facilities and services.
j. Publicity.

Unequal aggregate expenditures for members of each sex or unequal expenditures for male and female teams if a public school or Florida College System institution operates or sponsors separate teams do not constitute nonimplementation of this subsection, but the Commissioner of Education shall consider the failure to provide necessary funds for teams for one sex in assessing equality of opportunity for members of each sex.

(e) A public school or Florida College System institution may provide separate toilet, locker room, and shower facilities on the basis of gender, but such facilities shall be comparable to such facilities provided for students of the other sex.
(4)(a) It shall constitute discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, or sex under this section to subject any student or employee to training or instruction that espouses, promotes, advances, inculcates, or compels such student or employee to believe any of the following concepts:
1. Members of one race, color, national origin, or sex are morally superior to members of another race, color, national origin, or sex.
2. A person, by virtue of his or her race, color, national origin, or sex, is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously.
3. A person’s moral character or status as either privileged or oppressed is necessarily determined by his or her race, color, national origin, or sex.
4. Members of one race, color, national origin, or sex cannot and should not attempt to treat others without respect to race, color, national origin, or sex.
5. A person, by virtue of his or her race, color, national origin, or sex, bears responsibility for, or should be discriminated against or receive adverse treatment because of, actions committed in the past by other members of the same race, color, national origin, or sex.
6. A person, by virtue of his or her race, color, national origin, or sex, should be discriminated against or receive adverse treatment to achieve diversity, equity, or inclusion.
7. A person, by virtue of his or her race, color, sex, or national origin, bears personal responsibility for and must feel guilt, anguish, or other forms of psychological distress because of actions, in which the person played no part, committed in the past by other members of the same race, color, national origin, or sex.
8. Such virtues as merit, excellence, hard work, fairness, neutrality, objectivity, and racial colorblindness are racist or sexist, or were created by members of a particular race, color, national origin, or sex to oppress members of another race, color, national origin, or sex.
(b) Paragraph (a) may not be construed to prohibit discussion of the concepts listed therein as part of a larger course of training or instruction, provided such training or instruction is given in an objective manner without endorsement of the concepts.
(5) Public schools and Florida College System institutions shall develop and implement methods and strategies to increase the participation of students of a particular race, color, national origin, sex, disability, or marital status in programs and courses in which students of that particular race, color, national origin, sex, disability, or marital status have been traditionally underrepresented, including, but not limited to, mathematics, science, computer technology, electronics, communications technology, engineering, and career education.
(6)(a) The State Board of Education shall adopt rules to implement this section as it relates to school districts and Florida College System institutions.
(b) The Board of Governors shall adopt regulations to implement this section as it relates to state universities.
(7) The functions of the Office of Equal Educational Opportunity of the Department of Education shall include, but are not limited to:
(a) Requiring all district school boards and Florida College System institution boards of trustees to develop and submit plans for the implementation of this section to the Department of Education.
(b) Conducting periodic reviews of school districts and Florida College System institutions to determine compliance with this section and, after a finding that a school district or a Florida College System institution is not in compliance with this section, notifying the entity of the steps that it must take to attain compliance and performing followup monitoring.
(c) Providing technical assistance, including assisting school districts or Florida College System institutions in identifying unlawful discrimination and instructing them in remedies for correction and prevention of such discrimination and performing followup monitoring.
(d) Conducting studies of the effectiveness of methods and strategies designed to increase the participation of students in programs and courses in which students of a particular race, color, national origin, sex, disability, or marital status have been traditionally underrepresented and monitoring the success of students in such programs or courses, including performing followup monitoring.
(e) Requiring all district school boards and Florida College System institution boards of trustees to submit data and information necessary to determine compliance with this section. The Commissioner of Education shall prescribe the format and the date for submission of such data and any other educational equity data. If any board does not submit the required compliance data or other required educational equity data by the prescribed date, the commissioner shall notify the board of this fact and, if the board does not take appropriate action to immediately submit the required report, the State Board of Education shall impose monetary sanctions.
(f) Based upon rules of the State Board of Education, developing and implementing enforcement mechanisms with appropriate penalties to ensure that public K-12 schools and Florida College System institutions comply with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and subsection (3) of this section. However, the State Board of Education may not force a public school or Florida College System institution to conduct, nor penalize such entity for not conducting, a program of athletic activity or athletic scholarship for female athletes unless it is an athletic activity approved for women by a recognized association whose purpose is to promote athletics and a conference or league exists to promote interscholastic or intercollegiate competition for women in that athletic activity.
(g) Reporting to the Commissioner of Education any district school board or Florida College System institution board of trustees found to be out of compliance with rules of the State Board of Education adopted as required by paragraph (f) or paragraph (3)(d). To penalize the board, the State Board of Education shall:
1. Declare the school district or Florida College System institution ineligible for competitive state grants.
2. Notwithstanding the provisions of s. 216.192, direct the Chief Financial Officer to withhold general revenue funds sufficient to obtain compliance from the school district or Florida College System institution.

The school district or Florida College System institution shall remain ineligible and the funds shall not be paid until the institution comes into compliance or the State Board of Education approves a plan for compliance.

(8) A public K-20 educational institution must treat discrimination by students or employees or resulting from institutional policies motivated by anti-Semitic intent in an identical manner to discrimination motivated by race. For purposes of this section, the term “anti-Semitism” includes a certain perception of the Jewish people, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jewish people, rhetorical and physical manifestations of anti-Semitism directed toward a person, his or her property, or toward Jewish community institutions or religious facilities.
(a) Examples of anti-Semitism include:
1. Calling for, aiding, or justifying the killing or harming of Jews, often in the name of a radical ideology or an extremist view of religion.
2. Making mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as a collective, especially, but not exclusively, the myth about a world Jewish conspiracy or of Jews controlling the media, economy, government or other societal institutions.
3. Accusing Jews as a people of being responsible for real or imagined wrongdoing committed by a single Jewish person or group, the State of Israel, or even for acts committed by non-Jews.
4. Accusing Jews as a people or the State of Israel of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust.
5. Accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interest of their own nations.
(b) Examples of anti-Semitism related to Israel include:
1. Demonizing Israel by using the symbols and images associated with classic anti-Semitism to characterize Israel or Israelis, drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis, or blaming Israel for all inter-religious or political tensions.
2. Applying a double standard to Israel by requiring behavior of Israel that is not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation or focusing peace or human rights investigations only on Israel.
3. Delegitimizing Israel by denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination and denying Israel the right to exist.

However, criticism of Israel that is similar to criticism toward any other country may not be regarded as anti-Semitic.

(c) Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to diminish or infringe upon any right protected under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, or the State Constitution. Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to conflict with federal or state discrimination laws.
(9) A person aggrieved by a violation of this section or a violation of a rule adopted under this section has a right of action for such equitable relief as the court may determine. The court may also award reasonable attorney’s fees and court costs to a prevailing party.
History.s. 7, ch. 2002-387; s. 1942, ch. 2003-261; s. 70, ch. 2004-357; s. 66, ch. 2007-217; s. 1, ch. 2008-26; s. 9, ch. 2010-78; s. 4, ch. 2011-5; s. 1, ch. 2019-59; s. 2, ch. 2022-72.

Fla. Stat. § 760.10 - Florida Civil Rights Act

Florida Civil Rights Act

760.10 Unlawful employment practices.

(1) It is an unlawful employment practice for an employer:
(a) To discharge or to fail or refuse to hire any individual, or otherwise to discriminate against any individual with respect to compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, pregnancy, national origin, age, handicap, or marital status.
(b) To limit, segregate, or classify employees or applicants for employment in any way which would deprive or tend to deprive any individual of employment opportunities, or adversely affect any individual’s status as an employee, because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, pregnancy, national origin, age, handicap, or marital status.
(2) It is an unlawful employment practice for an employment agency to fail or refuse to refer for employment, or otherwise to discriminate against, any individual because of race, color, religion, sex, pregnancy, national origin, age, handicap, or marital status or to classify or refer for employment any individual on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, pregnancy, national origin, age, handicap, or marital status.
(3) It is an unlawful employment practice for a labor organization:
(a) To exclude or to expel from its membership, or otherwise to discriminate against, any individual because of race, color, religion, sex, pregnancy, national origin, age, handicap, or marital status.
(b) To limit, segregate, or classify its membership or applicants for membership, or to classify or fail or refuse to refer for employment any individual, in any way that would deprive or tend to deprive any individual of employment opportunities, or adversely affect any individual’s status as an employee or as an applicant for employment, because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, pregnancy, national origin, age, handicap, or marital status.
(c) To cause or attempt to cause an employer to discriminate against an individual in violation of this section.
(4) It is an unlawful employment practice for any employer, labor organization, or joint labor-management committee controlling apprenticeship or other training or retraining, including on-the-job training programs, to discriminate against any individual because of race, color, religion, sex, pregnancy, national origin, age, handicap, or marital status in admission to, or employment in, any program established to provide apprenticeship or other training.
(5) Whenever, in order to engage in a profession, occupation, or trade, it is required that a person receive a license, certification, or other credential, become a member or an associate of any club, association, or other organization, or pass any examination, it is an unlawful employment practice for any person to discriminate against any other person seeking such license, certification, or other credential, seeking to become a member or associate of such club, association, or other organization, or seeking to take or pass such examination, because of such other person’s race, color, religion, sex, pregnancy, national origin, age, handicap, or marital status.
(6) It is an unlawful employment practice for an employer, labor organization, employment agency, or joint labor-management committee to print, or cause to be printed or published, any notice or advertisement relating to employment, membership, classification, referral for employment, or apprenticeship or other training, indicating any preference, limitation, specification, or discrimination, based on race, color, religion, sex, pregnancy, national origin, age, absence of handicap, or marital status.
(7) It is an unlawful employment practice for an employer, an employment agency, a joint labor-management committee, or a labor organization to discriminate against any person because that person has opposed any practice which is an unlawful employment practice under this section, or because that person has made a charge, testified, assisted, or participated in any manner in an investigation, proceeding, or hearing under this section.
(8)(a) Subjecting any individual, as a condition of employment, membership, certification, licensing, credentialing, or passing an examination, to training, instruction, or any other required activity that espouses, promotes, advances, inculcates, or compels such individual to believe any of the following concepts constitutes discrimination based on race, color, sex, or national origin under this section:
1. Members of one race, color, sex, or national origin are morally superior to members of another race, color, sex, or national origin.
2. An individual, by virtue of his or her race, color, sex, or national origin, is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously.
3. An individual’s moral character or status as either privileged or oppressed is necessarily determined by his or her race, color, sex, or national origin.
4. Members of one race, color, sex, or national origin cannot and should not attempt to treat others without respect to race, color, sex, or national origin.
5. An individual, by virtue of his or her race, color, sex, or national origin, bears responsibility for, or should be discriminated against or receive adverse treatment because of, actions committed in the past by other members of the same race, color, sex, or national origin.
6. An individual, by virtue of his or her race, color, sex, or national origin, should be discriminated against or receive adverse treatment to achieve diversity, equity, or inclusion.
7. An individual, by virtue of his or her race, color, sex, or national origin, bears personal responsibility for and must feel guilt, anguish, or other forms of psychological distress because of actions, in which the individual played no part, committed in the past by other members of the same race, color, sex, or national origin.
8. Such virtues as merit, excellence, hard work, fairness, neutrality, objectivity, and racial colorblindness are racist or sexist, or were created by members of a particular race, color, sex, or national origin to oppress members of another race, color, sex, or national origin.
(b) Paragraph (a) may not be construed to prohibit discussion of the concepts listed therein as part of a course of training or instruction, provided such training or instruction is given in an objective manner without endorsement of the concepts.
(9) Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, it is not an unlawful employment practice under ss. 760.01-760.10 for an employer, employment agency, labor organization, or joint labor-management committee to:
(a) Take or fail to take any action on the basis of religion, sex, pregnancy, national origin, age, handicap, or marital status in those certain instances in which religion, sex, condition of pregnancy, national origin, age, absence of a particular handicap, or marital status is a bona fide occupational qualification reasonably necessary for the performance of the particular employment to which such action or inaction is related.
(b) Observe the terms of a bona fide seniority system, a bona fide employee benefit plan such as a retirement, pension, or insurance plan, or a system which measures earnings by quantity or quality of production, which is not designed, intended, or used to evade the purposes of ss. 760.01-760.10. However, no such employee benefit plan or system which measures earnings shall excuse the failure to hire, and no such seniority system, employee benefit plan, or system which measures earnings shall excuse the involuntary retirement of, any individual on the basis of any factor not related to the ability of such individual to perform the particular employment for which such individual has applied or in which such individual is engaged. This subsection shall not be construed to make unlawful the rejection or termination of employment when the individual applicant or employee has failed to meet bona fide requirements for the job or position sought or held or to require any changes in any bona fide retirement or pension programs or existing collective bargaining agreements during the life of the contract, or for 2 years after October 1, 1981, whichever occurs first, nor shall this act preclude such physical and medical examinations of applicants and employees as an employer may require of applicants and employees to determine fitness for the job or position sought or held.
(c) Take or fail to take any action on the basis of age, pursuant to law or regulation governing any employment or training program designed to benefit persons of a particular age group.
(d) Take or fail to take any action on the basis of marital status if that status is prohibited under its antinepotism policy.
(10) This section shall not apply to any religious corporation, association, educational institution, or society which conditions opportunities in the area of employment or public accommodation to members of that religious corporation, association, educational institution, or society or to persons who subscribe to its tenets or beliefs. This section shall not prohibit a religious corporation, association, educational institution, or society from giving preference in employment to individuals of a particular religion to perform work connected with the carrying on by such corporations, associations, educational institutions, or societies of its various activities.
(11) Each employer, employment agency, and labor organization shall post and keep posted in conspicuous places upon its premises a notice provided by the commission setting forth such information as the commission deems appropriate to effectuate the purposes of ss. 760.01-760.10.
History.s. 6, ch. 77-341; s. 2, ch. 78-49; s. 5, ch. 79-400; s. 1, ch. 81-109; s. 7, ch. 92-177; ss. 2, 4, ch. 92-282; s. 6, ch. 2015-68; s. 1, ch. 2022-72.
Note.Former ss. 13.261, 23.167.

HB 7 - Individual Freedom

Summary of HB7 (PDF) and Complete HB 7 Text (PDF)
House Bill 7 on flstate.gov
 

“(4)(a) It shall constitute discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, or sex under this section to subject any student or employee to training or instruction that espouses, promotes, advances, inculcates, or compels such student or employee to believe any of the following concepts:  

  1. Members of one race, color, national origin, or sex are morally superior to members of another race, color, national origin, or sex.
  2. A person, by virtue of his or her race, color, national origin, or sex is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously.
  3. A person's moral character or status as either privileged or oppressed is necessarily determined by his or her race, color, national origin, or sex.
  4. Members of one race, color, national origin, or sex cannot and should not attempt to treat others without respect to race, color, national origin, or sex.
  5. A person, by virtue of his or her race, color, national origin, or sex bears responsibility for, or should be discriminated against or receive adverse treatment because of, actions committed in the past by other members of the same race, color, national origin, or sex.
  6. A person, by virtue of his or her race, color, national origin, or sex should be discriminated against or receive adverse treatment to achieve diversity, equity, or inclusion.
  7. A person, by virtue of his or her race, color, sex, or national origin, bears personal responsibility for and must feel guilt, anguish, or other forms of psychological distress because of actions, in which the person played no part, committed in the past by other members of the same race, color, national origin, or sex.
  8. Such virtues as merit, excellence, hard work, fairness, neutrality, objectivity, and racial colorblindness are racist or sexist, or were created by members of a particular race, color, national origin, or sex to oppress members of another race, color, national origin, or sex.

(b) Paragraph (a) may not be construed to prohibit discussion of the concepts listed therein as part of a larger course of training or instruction, provided such training or instruction is given in an objective manner without endorsement of the concepts.” 

SB 2524 - Enforcement of individual freedom requirements

Summary of SB 2524 (PDF)
Senate Bill 2524 on flstate.gov


“State University System Performance-Based Incentive —
  

(5) Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, if any institution is found to have a substantiated violation of s. 1000.05(4)(a), the institution shall be ineligible to receive performance funding during the next fiscal year following the year in which the violation is substantiated. Substantiated findings are those as determined by a court of law, a standing committee of the Legislature, or the Board of Governors.” 

 

Recommendations for the UF Community

The resources below provide further clarification and recommendations related to HB 7.

Academic Instruction

The Office of the Provost has created this presentation for faculty. It provides recommendations for how instructors can remain within the law’s guidelines while continuing to discuss important academic subjects that reflect the core values of the university.

Click on the thumbnail below and then click next to play the video.

Additional Resources for Academic Instruction

People learn best when they are encouraged to ask questions and express their diverse opinions on course content which may include images, texts, data, or theories from many fields. This is especially true in courses that deal with provocative or contemporary issues. UF offers many such courses and resources are available to faculty in Canvas to support high impact best practices.

Employee Training

This presentation created by UFHR provides an overview and some general guidelines for faculty and staff trainers on how to remain within the law while continuing to provide impactful training that advances UF’s diversity and inclusion goals and values.

Additional Resources for Employee Training

HB 7 is clear that issues of "race, color, national origin, or sex" can be discussed in employee training, but must be discussed in an objective manner. Below are some additional resources to assist trainers in creating an environment that promotes discussion of different perspectives with mutual respect and allows participants to develop their own perspectives. 

FAQs

What is HB 7?

House Bill 7 2022 (HB 7) was passed by the Florida Legislature and signed by the Governor in 2022.  Effective July 1, 2022, HB 7 amends two statutes that apply to the University - the Florida Educational Equity Act (Fla. Stat. § 1000.05) and the Florida Civil Rights Act (Fla. Stat. § 760.10). As amended, the Florida Educational Equity Act and the Florida Civil Rights Act (referred to in these FAQs as the HB7 laws) make it unlawful discrimination to subject a student or employee to training or instruction that espouses, promotes, advances, inculcates, or compels such student or employee to believe any of the following eight concepts:

1. Members of one race, color, sex, or national origin are morally superior to members of another race, color, sex, or national origin.

2. An individual, by virtue of his or her race, color, sex, or national origin, is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously.

3. An individual's moral character or status as either privileged or oppressed is necessarily determined by his or her race, color, sex, or national origin.

4. Members of one race, color, sex, or national origin cannot and should not attempt to treat others without respect to race, color, sex, or national origin.

5. An individual, by virtue of his or her race, color, sex, or national origin, bears responsibility for, or should be discriminated against or receive adverse treatment because of, actions committed in the past by other members of the same race, color, sex, or national origin.

6. An individual, by virtue of his or her race, color, sex, or national origin, should be discriminated against or receive adverse treatment to achieve diversity, equity, or inclusion.

7. An individual, by virtue of his or her race, color, sex, or national origin, bears personal responsibility for and must feel guilt, anguish, or other forms of psychological distress because of actions, in which the individual played no part, committed in the past by other members of the same race, color, sex, or national origin.

8. Such virtues as merit, excellence, hard work, fairness, neutrality, objectivity, and racial colorblindness are racist or sexist, or were created by members of a particular race, color, sex, or national origin to oppress members of another race, color, sex, or national origin.

However, the HB7 laws do not prohibit discussion of the concepts as part of a course of training or instruction, provided such training or instruction is given in an objective manner without endorsement of the concepts.

How is “instruction” defined?

The HB 7 laws do not define instruction. However, the Board of Governor’s proposed regulation defines instruction as “the process of teaching or engaging students with content about a particular subject by a university employee or a person authorized to provide instruction by the university within a course.”  There is no indication that “instruction” is limited to classroom lecture and discussion. Therefore, instructors should assume that HB 7 applies in office hours and other informal instruction settings.

How is “training” defined?

The HB 7 laws do not define training.  However, the Board of Governor’s proposed regulation defines training as  “planned and organized activity conducted by the university as a mandatory condition of employment, enrollment, or participation in a university program for the purpose of imparting knowledge, developing skills or competencies, or becoming proficient in a particular job or role.”

Can I discuss the concepts in instruction or training?

Yes. The HB 7 laws do not prohibit discussion of the concepts as part of a larger course of training or instruction, provided such training or instruction is given in an objective manner without endorsement of the concepts.

Can I discuss historical events and facts related to the concepts in instruction or training?

The HB 7 laws do not prohibit facilitating discussions and using curricula or training materials to address how, for example, the freedoms of persons have been infringed by sexism, slavery, racial oppression, racial segregation, and racial discrimination, including topics relating to the enactment and enforcement of laws resulting in sexism, racial oppression, racial segregation, and racial discrimination and how recognition of these freedoms have overturned these unjust laws.

Does the University have any guidance for instructors who want to discuss the concepts objectively and without endorsement?

Instructors should review their curriculum and presentations to determine if the way the material is currently written or presented could be interpreted as “espousing, promoting, advancing, inculcating or compelling belief” in any of the concepts.

Discussion of a concept in an objective manner, however, does not mean that the concept must be discussed in neutral terms. For instance, an instructor need not ignore the weight of research, studies, data, or other indicia of academic or scientific validity regarding a concept when discussing it in class. Additionally, the instructor may engage students in critical thought on the ideas discussed so long as it does not come at the expense of a student’s ability to hold and share their own viewpoint on the concept.

While the HB 7 laws prohibit an instructor from lowering a student’s grade based on the student’s viewpoint on any of the concepts, an instructor should still evaluate a student’s understanding of ideas and concepts in course work. For example, if a student indicates that an idea is inconsistent with the student’s personal beliefs yet can demonstrate the required learning objective, then the student’s grade should not suffer.

Endorsing a concept is inconsistent with the plain text of the law. If asked by a student if the faculty member agrees with a concept, the faculty member would be in the best position to simply say that: “my own personal conclusions and beliefs are not part of the discussion.” If a student wishes to discuss a concept, the discussion should follow similar parameters as those set forth above. The instructor should facilitate discussion and critical thought in an objective manner by allowing the free flow of ideas in the classroom and refrain from endorsing or condemning any student’s viewpoint.

Instructors should also consider whether to include a prepared introductory statement in a syllabus or curriculum materials to ensure consistency in the presentation of information and compliance with the laws’ requirements.  One example is:

People learn best when they are encouraged to ask questions and express their diverse opinions on course content which may include images, texts, data, or theories from many fields. This is especially true in courses that deal with provocative or contemporary issues. UF offers many such courses, in which students encounter concepts of race, color, sex, and/or national origin. We teach these important issues because understanding them is essential for anyone who seeks to make economic, cultural, and societal contributions to today's complex world. With this in mind, we do not limit access to, or classroom discussion of, ideas and opinions-including those that some may find uncomfortable, unwelcome, disagreeable, or even offensive. In response to challenging material, students and instructors are encouraged to ask honest questions and thoughtfully engage one another's ideas. But hostility, disruptive and disrespectful behavior, and provocation for provocation's sake have no place in a classroom; reasonable people disagree reasonably. These guidelines can help instructors and students as they work together to fulfill the mission of the University of Florida, which includes the exploration of intellectual boundaries, the creation of new knowledge and the pursuit of new ideas.

Consistent with the exercise of academic responsibility, an instructor must have freedom in the classroom to discuss academic subjects. The university student must likewise have the opportunity to study a full spectrum of ideas, opinions, and beliefs, so that the student may acquire the critical thinking skills crucial to success in life and occupation. Objective and skillful exposition of such subject matter is the duty of every instructor, and the university does not serve to shield individuals from experiences of ideas and opinions that differ from their own.

Does the University have any guidance specific to trainers who want to discuss the concepts objectively as part of their teaching?

In addition to the guidance provided above, trainers may consider making diversity, equity and inclusion training voluntary.  The proposed BOG regulation defines training as “planned and organized activity conducted by the university as a mandatory condition of employment, enrollment, or participation in a university program.”

Additionally, when discussing the concepts in training, the trainer should focus on facilitating open and candid discussion of participant viewpoints and perspectives rather than being a “sage on the stage.”

Do instructors retain academic freedom in the classroom?

As set forth in UF Regulation 7.018, academic freedom and responsibility are essential to the full development of a true university and apply to teaching, research, and creativity. In the development of knowledge, research endeavors, and creative activities, the faculty must be free to cultivate a spirit of inquiry and scholarly criticism and to examine ideas in an atmosphere of freedom and confidence. The University respects and supports the professional judgment of its faculty in their right to select topics for teaching and research, including issues related to race, sex, national origin and color. Faculty retain the freedom in the classroom to discuss academic subjects related to the curriculum and within their disciplinary expertise, select instructional materials and determine grades. While such discussions may at times make some people feel uncomfortable, this is part of a rigorous education that provides the tools necessary for responsible and engaged citizenship and will be protected so long as students retain the freedom to reach their own conclusions and freely hold and share their own beliefs and viewpoints on these issues.

Are guest speakers considered instructors or trainers under the HB 7 laws?

If a guest speaker is providing instruction or training with the authorization of the University or any of its employees, that guest speaker may be considered a University instructor or trainer under the HB 7 laws.

The University recommends that when a guest lecturer is invited into instruction or training, the inviting employee provide the guest lecturer a copy of the HB 7 laws, which can be found here, and these FAQs to be read before the speaking engagement. The guest speaker should be asked if their presentation and materials are consistent with the HB 7 laws. If they are not, the guest speaker must modify them or the presentation should be canceled.

If a guest speaker acts inconsistent with the HB 7 laws, the employee that has authorized the guest speaker must take action to remedy situation. If it can be done without causing a greater disruption to the instruction or training, the employee is encouraged to make an immediate statement to remind the speaker against endorsement or promotion of the concepts and confirm to students and trainees that they are not required adopt any of the views of the guest speaker. Otherwise, the employee should take steps to remedy the guest speaker’s statements at the next available opportunity.

How are complaints of violations of the HB 7 laws made/received at the University?

A complaint of an alleged violation of the HB 7 laws may be submitted to UF Employee Relations by submitting an online complaint here. An administrator who receives a complaint of an alleged violation must forward such complaint to UFHR Employee Relations at EmployeeRelations@hr.ufl.edu.

Administrators include the following high level personnel who have been assigned the responsibilities of University and unit-wide academic or administrative functions: University president, provost, senior/executive vice presidents, vice presidents, associate/assistant vice presidents, associate/assistant/vice provosts, deans, directors, chairs, equal opportunity programs director, chief audit executive, and chief compliance officer.

How are complaints of violations of the HB 7 laws handled at the University?

After receiving a complaint of a violation of the HB 7 laws, Employee Relations will provide the complaint to the Provost’s Office. The Provost’s Office shall direct, supervise and coordinate the investigation of a credible complaint that identifies an alleged training or instruction that espouses, promotes, advances, inculcates, or compels a student or employee to believe any of the concepts.

An investigator assigned by the Provost’s Office shall make findings of fact related to the allegations and report such findings to the Provost, or designee, who shall review the facts and work with appropriate University employees to remedy any concerns before making a decision regarding whether a substantiated violation exists. Like other investigations at the University, the person that is the subject of the complaint does not have the burden of disproving the allegations. The Provost will determine whether the findings of fact establish that it is more likely than not a violation occurred. The Provost may convene an ad hoc committee of University employees to assist in remedying concerns or providing context to assist in the determination.

Consistent with the Campus Free Expression Act (Fla. Stat. § 1004.097), a University investigation will focus on the alleged statements and actions that are inconsistent with the HB 7 laws. The investigation will not rely on evidence that the complainant found the instruction or training to be uncomfortable, unwelcome, disagreeable, or offensive.

What happens if the Provost or designee finds a substantiated violation?

The University’s principal goal is to maintain compliance with the HB 7 laws. If a concern can be remedied so that a violation does not exist, the University’s focus will be to work with the employee to take such remedial actions.

In the event the Provost or designee finds a substantiated violation of the HB 7 laws, the University Chief Audit Executive will inform the Board of Governors through the Office of Inspector General. The University must also take prompt action to correct the violation by:

  • Mandating that the employee responsible for the violation modify the instruction or training to be consistent with this regulation;
  • Taking disciplinary measures where appropriate; and
  • Remove, by termination if appropriate, the responsible employee if there is a failure or refusal to comply with the mandate.

Whether an employee’s actions were inadvertent or willful and knowing and the employee’s cooperation in the University’s efforts to remediate a violation will factor into the type of corrective action the University will take with regard to a particular incident.

What are the consequences to the University for violations of the HB 7 laws?

If a substantiated violation of the HB7 laws is determined by either a standing committee of the Legislature, a court or the Board of Governors, the University could forfeit its performance funding for the next fiscal year.

Additionally, the HB7 laws provide that a University student or employee who is subject to discrimination under the HB 7 laws may file suit against the University.

Will the University have a regulation related to the HB 7 laws?

The Board of Governors is currently in the process of adopting a regulation related to the HB 7 laws.  The proposed BOG regulation requires each university to have a regulation.  The University will adopt an applicable regulation after the BOG regulation is adopted.

Does HB 7 prohibit instruction or training that discusses the eight concepts listed in HB 7?

No.  HB 7 allows discussion of these concepts as part of a larger course of training or instruction, provided such training or instruction is given in an objective manner without endorsement of the concepts.

Does HB 7 prohibit instruction or training that discusses historical facts and events related to racism and sexism?

No.  Instruction and training may facilitate discussions to address how, for example, the freedoms of persons have been infringed by sexism, slavery, racial oppression, racial segregation, and racial discrimination, including topics relating to the enactment and enforcement of laws resulting in sexism, racial oppression, racial segregation, and racial discrimination and how recognition of these freedoms have overturned these unjust laws.

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