Letter to the Editor: Unpacking Christian Valverde’s Claims


Marc Forrester

In a Letter to the Editor published on February 21, 2023, written by Christian Valverde in response to an article written to University Press, there have been several contentious and dubious claims made that I feel, in the interest of open and honest debate, should be countered and corrected publicly. Therefore I’d like to take this time to address some of the claims made and point out some of the argumentative fallacies that I believe could mislead readers.

The letter claims that one of the main reasons that Governor DeSantis has cut funding for DEI funding and related classes is because of their high expenses for what the Governor perceives to be low value. While it is true that these classes can be expensive, it would be unwise to neglect the potential value that they could bring to society and our community. It seems like Valverde is cherry-picking here – only focusing on the costs while ignoring any potential benefit. For one, jobs in the DEI field are growing, and DEI classes would help to address that demand. LinkedIn data has shown that between 2015 and 2020, DEI related roles have increased 71% globally[1]. On Indeed.com, DEI job postings have increased by 123%[2]. Beyond just creating jobs for the economy, by promoting diversity and inclusion we can build a more just and equitable society, where everyone has an equal opportunity to succeed. Is that not what one of America’s founding principles is – a land of equal opportunity? Also, not investing in DEI programs could be more costly in the long run than if we did fund DEI. Marginalized groups that don’t have access to opportunities or resources that help them succeed could be more likely to face poverty, unemployment, being excluded from society, and much more. This can all lead to greater costs for our society as a whole – a potentially less productive workforce, increased crime rates, and greater healthcare costs – just to name a few.

One point made in particular that I would like to address is Valverde’s characterization of DEI programs and related classes as being “disgraceful to American values,” and comparable to Jim Crow. These claims are hyperbolic and unfounded, and are frankly very disrespectful to those who have ancestors that suffered under Jim Crow laws. This comparison, of course, is a false equivalence fallacy – you cannot equate an era where people suffered to a class or program that you simply disagree with. The main goal of these programs are to promote understanding and to address the historical and structural inequalities that have led to the marginalization of certain groups of people. These programs do not intend to discriminate against anyone – quite the opposite – it is meant to provide equal opportunities for all, regardless of one’s racial background, sexual orientation, gender, creed, or any other difference.

Something to note is that Valverde brings up affirmative action. DEI and affirmative action are two very different programs with two very different goals. Because Valverde is bringing up a topic that is unrelated to DEI and fails to address the arguments in favor of these programs, Valverde has committed a red herring fallacy. If Valverde wanted to criticize affirmative action, he should have explained its relation to DEI initiatives, rather than going off on a tangent about how affirmative action is unconstitutional. It is distracting from the main argument and could lead to readers drawing a false conclusion about the claims being made.

Another point to address is that Valverde claims that there is no evidence to suggest that DEI programs are effective in achieving their goals. What I think is important to consider is that these programs are still relatively new and that their effects may take a while to show themselves. You aren’t going to see changes overnight, and it would not be prudent to assume that any potential effects would appear in the short term. On Valverde’s own report of DEI initiatives not existing before 2014, how can you reasonably assert that the programs are “useless,” if they haven’t been given the time to have an impact? 

Lastly, Valverde’s claim of DEI initiatives being unnecessary and even offensive is also rhetorically dishonest. I certainly do respect Valverde’s identity of being a disabled Hispanic; however, using his own personal identity as evidence against the effectiveness of DEI programs is an anecdotal fallacy – and he even admits this when he claims that he abhors identity politics. Also, while he may take offense to DEI initiatives and other similar programs, that statement is not an objective one. Many students may find solace in these programs, and will find benefit in the resources and support that they provide, as well as the opportunities presented in the form of sponsorships, new career paths, and a greater ability to form stronger networks.

While I don’t believe that Valverde’s arguments are coming from a place of malice and intentional deceit, I think it would behoove him and other critics of DEI programs to examine the effects – both positive and negative – of such programs more closely.


  1. Tardy, Jenn. “Growth and Trends of Deib Roles (+ the New Era of Workplace Culture).” LinkedIn. Linkedin, February 1, 2022. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/growth-trends-deib-roles-new-era-workplace-culture-jenn-tardy/. 
  2. Murray, Jane Kellogg. “Jobs in Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging Have Risen 123% … – Indeed.” indeed.com. Indeed, October 13, 2020. https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/finding-a-job/diversity-inclusion-and-belonging-jobs-rise. 

Marc Forrester is a current FAU student and a representative with the Student Government House of Representatives. If you would like to reach out, you can do so by emailing [email protected] or messaging @marc_forrester on Instagram.