Florida; critical race theory; DEI; academic freedom; social justice; civil rights and discrimination


Accelerating from 2022 and continuing through 2024, the state of Florida has experienced significant policy changes, particularly within the realm of higher education and affairs of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). Many progressive officials, experts, and activists assert arguments that the state is on the verge of evolving into an authoritarian regime while many illiberal policies are being produced through the Florida legislature and current executive leadership—social and economic sectors are consequently threatened in order to maintain political oppression. The Stop W.O.K.E. Act has served as a catalyst for shifting the state's political stance on DEI, culminating in a chain reaction of similar forms of legislation which create serious ramifications onto civic life, creating a tense environment in the state. Along with suppression of DEI, academic freedom especially has been jeopardized with Florida's next line of students and instructors left to bear the consequences. The following research will contribute to theory and understanding, by analyzing the common misconceptions that revolve around nuanced terms such as “woke”, DEI, and CRT, while also examining how these influenced legislation in other states. This paper will also investigate precisely how the Act was enacted in Florida by conducting research on theoretical perspectives, governmental proceedings, discourse among officials, court battles, and impacts that can likely last for generations, leading to potential harms onto the nation as a whole.

Thesis Completion Year


Thesis Completion Semester


Thesis Chair

Jewett, Aubrey


College of Sciences


School of Politics, Security, and International Affairs

Thesis Discipline

Political Science



Access Status

Open Access

Length of Campus Access


Campus Location

Orlando (Main) Campus



Rights Statement

In Copyright