OneJax disassociates from University of North Florida, cites ‘political climate’

A memorandum of understanding was in effect since 2012.

In view of the current “political climate,” a Jacksonville institution dedicated to diversity and intersectionality is parting ways with a local university.

OneJax is announcing it will “dissolve its association with the University of North Florida” and will be “re-activating its independent 501(c)3 nonprofit status.” They will be ending a memorandum of understanding that has governed the group’s relationship with the university since 2012.

“OneJax is proud to have been a part of the UNF community and appreciates the mutually beneficial relationship we have enjoyed with the University these past 11 years,” said Kyle Reese, OneJax Executive Director. “The current political climate in our state is impacting every state university, and we do not want the core mission and vision of our 53-year-old organization to be restrained or restricted.”

Despite the framing of the move as a direct response to the “political climate” in the Gov. Ron DeSantis era, UNF’s President is offering an upbeat take.

“This is not an unusual occurrence,” Dr. Moez Limayem said. “We part as friends, and I wish OneJax well as it continues to pursue its work in the greater Jacksonville community.”

Friendship aside, the relationship had benefits that may not be quickly replicated. The group noted that “by bringing OneJax onto its campus, the University has positioned itself to strengthen its community partnerships to play an even more significant role in Northeast Florida’s conversations about diversity and inclusion.”

DeSantis turned his focus to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives in recent years; they weren’t always a trigger point for the Governor. The Legislature is turning its eye toward them, meanwhile, in an education reform bill championed by Rep. Alex Andrade. HB 999 would defund DEI initiatives, among a series of changes that include ending tenure as it currently exists and charging trustees with faculty hires.

OneJax does its own fundraising, the release notes, and despite the formal divorce from UNF, the group is in strong shape.

“We are in a good financial position and expect to continue raising the operating funds necessary for us to continue our plans for growth and expansion,” Reese said.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


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