Marco Rubio accuses UCF program of teaching students to hate America

Marco Rubio
'Social justice' means 'cultural Marxism,' Rubio tells Fox & Friends.

Republican Sen. Marco Rubio condemned a University of Central Florida graduate program as neo-Marxist on Wednesday and said it should not be taught.

Rubio said the program is “teaching our young students how to hate America.”

On “Fox & Friends,” Rubio answered a question from host Steve Doocy about what he thought of UCF’s Graduate Certificate in Social Justice in Public Service program.

As he understands the term, Rubio is not a fan of “social justice,” he made clear.

He lectured “Fox & Friends” viewers on what social justice really means to him.

“It’s a theory that says the following,” Rubio offered: “The world is divided up between oppressors and the oppressed. And that’s the story of America in their mind — oppressors and the oppressed. OK? The system, our system of economics, our government, our laws, our educational system, everything, traditional marriage, religion, it’s designed to benefit the oppressors at the expense of the oppressed. All the oppressors are bad; it doesn’t matter what you are or what you do individually. All the oppressed are good; it doesn’t matter what you do individually. And so the answer is that (the)whole system has to be torn down and replaced with something else.

“That’s what they call social justice. That’s the brand and the name they’ve created for it. But what it really is, is it’s neo-Marxism. What it really is, is cultural Marxism. It is another way to tear apart capitalism,” Rubio concluded.

Rubio blamed the faculty, saying, “the faculty in a lot of these universities, frankly, are filled with just nutty, crazy people who, now, you can’t even fire them unless they murder some people.”

And, he added, taxpayers wind up “subsidizing teaching our young students how to hate America.”

UCF suggesting that what UCF is offering is similar in concept to many of the themes in a summit the Florida Chamber Foundation is sponsoring Wednesday in Sarasota, called the “Prosperity and Economic Opportunity Solution Summit.”

Still, the university walked carefully in responding.

“We have tremendous respect for Sen. Rubio and his advocacy of higher education, and we agree the role of a university is to help prepare students for successful careers. This graduate certificate program does just that for students who are looking to advance their careers in public policy and help their communities. The program covers education, health, transportation and housing policy, which all are critical to the success of our communities and our state,” UCF offered in a statement.

Rubio’s office did not respond to a Florida Politics inquiry about how he might have familiarized himself with the UCF program; whether he has talked with anyone at UCF about it; or whether he has raised any concerns with anyone at UCF about it.

Democratic state Rep. Anna V. Eskamani, pursuing a doctorate in public affairs from the same college offering the graduate certificate, was more forceful in defending the program. And she belittled Rubio’s assessment.

“It’s so stupid. This is a joke,” she said.

Eskamani, an avowed social justice activist, also defended the professors behind the program, Staci Zavattaro and Luis Santiago, as highly respected in their field of public affairs.

“Dr. Zavattaro is one of the most renowned advocates in her field,” Eskamani said. “She is an academic professional.”

“Social justice promotes an equitable environment to ensure that every person has an equal opportunity to reach the American dream, something I know Rubio cares about,” Eskamani said. “So his comments on ‘Fox & Friends’ are clearly politically motivated and are dismissive to generations of civil rights advocates who have pushed for basic rights like the ability to vote. And so, politicizing something as important as equity within society is dangerous to all of us. And I think a son of immigrants would get that.”

Rubio told Doocy he does not think that universities should teach social justice.

Rubio explained that universities need to be teaching things like engineering, biology, science, math, other technological fields.

“I think we should be teaching people the skills they need to find a good-paying job and contribute to their community, their family, and their country in the 21st century.

“That’s why we have universities. That’s why we have college degrees. Not to train a generation of cultural Marxist activists. But to train people so they can go out and find jobs that are good for them, good for their families, and good for the country,” he continued.

In this case, the university uses taxpayers’ money to teach people to hate America, Rubio contended.

“Why we can do this, and why we should be subsidizing, why the American taxpayer, why Florida’s taxpayers, should be subsidizing teaching our young students how to hate America, how to hate everything about our history, how to divide and hate one another, how our identity is not American but the color of our skin, and why we should be spending taxpayers’ money to teach these things that are destructive, not to mention untrue, is beyond me,” Rubio added. “I don’t understand why this is happening and I hope it’s corrected.”

Scott Powers

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at [email protected].



    May 26, 2021 at 8:19 pm

    Rubio hit the nail on the head. Why should the working American taxpayer fork over money to these colleges that teach students to hate America our ways and traditions? These students become so disillusioned when they graduate and find no work because Social Justice isn’t a calling. Then they become the Marxist they were taught to be in the end, only better prepared to bring down this country.

    • Larry

      May 27, 2021 at 8:53 am

      As far as I can tell, Rubio did not hit the nail on the head as he selected one possible personal conclusion of social justice; and not the most common one. I’m guessing he did so to give people something else to be mad about.

      You make it sound as if college students shouldn’t study American History because it isn’t a calling. Maybe we should also stop studying astrophysics as similar to social justice there are currently no jobs in that field other than teaching it.

      Perhaps you are content assuming things in the past don’t impact things today or in the future, but I’d rather not make that assumption. I’d rather try to understand how our actions have impacted others and see what can be done to create ways to meet peoples needs. After all, this approach has produced business opportunities in the past.

      I personally want to avoid acting in a way that results in injustice for others. I don’t know how I can figure out what those are or figure out what I might do differently without listening to others, thinking about their views, or critically examining what I do.

      I once heard someone say “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” I’d like people to treat me justly, maybe I should try to return the favor.

  • Lee

    May 27, 2021 at 8:26 am

    I am a working American. The socio/economic policies currently in place do not provide basic support for parents of newborns, for example. All other developed nations provide many months, if not longer, for new mothers and fathers to have paid leave to care for their babies. All developed nations, except for the US, provide universal healthcare. Our access to affordable healthcare is not focused on the needs of the people, it is solely focused on maximizing profits for the healthcare industry, especially insurance companies. Our political/economic system is ruled by the wealthiest who can literally buy votes of legislators through lobbying and dark money PACs to make laws that favor them and leave out the social and healthcare needs of our people. If the powers that be have a soul they can learn a lot about social justice and start making the needed adjustments. However, absent any real change, those left behind, and they are the majority, have only the power of organizing together to bring about change. (And now you know why the Republicans are attempting to restrict voting access….real democracy will lead to social justice).

  • PeterH

    May 27, 2021 at 1:14 pm

    Val Demings is calling on common sense Republicans, Democrats and Independent voters to join her in securing Rubio’s Senate seat to take back Florida’s credibility on the National stage.

  • Allan Barsky

    May 28, 2021 at 10:28 am

    Teaching social justice is teaching students to love America. We need to promote social justice here and internationally. Social justice is about equality, inclusion, participation, and freedom. All of these are broadly held American values.

  • Aimee Stern

    May 28, 2021 at 11:26 am

    The most effective thing we can do is stop listening to Marco Rubio and vote him out in November of 2022. He doesn’t care about his constituents which is clear from these incredibly ignorant comments.

  • bob

    May 28, 2021 at 2:56 pm

    Social Justice is nonsense when you realize it’s trying to put dangerous solutions to problems that are not there. Social Justice is merely the mask that Marxism is wearing.

Comments are closed.


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