TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WFLA) — Critics are accusing Florida Republicans of trying to rewrite history with their higher education bill, SB 266, despite them making several changes to the bill on Wednesday.

The bill has been rewritten, using broader definitions to limit, but not eliminate, diversity equity and inclusion programs in colleges and universities in the state.

The bill would require universities to periodically review curriculum and ensure all academic programs align with the state’s mission.

Before it was rewritten, the bill said the board should “examine its programs for the inclusion of any specified major or minor in critical race theory, gender studies, or intersectionality or any derivative major of these belief systems, that is, any major that engenders beliefs in those concepts.”

It now says “the board shall include in its review direction to each constituent university to examine its programs for any violation.”

“Nothing in this bill is meant to prohibit speech or to keep facts from being presented. One of the purposes of this bill is to guard against compelling speech,” said the bill’s sponsor State Sen. Erin Grall.

But critics disagree.

“It’s total censorship, that’s what this was about from the beginning,” said Equal Ground Political Director Genesis Robinson. “There should not be limits to what individuals are able to learn particularly in higher education.”

Equal Ground mobilized hundreds of African Americans from around the state to sign a petition calling on lawmakers to “Stop the attack on Education, Black History, and Gender studies.” It was given to senators during the committee hearing Wednesday. 

The bill would also require tenured professors to undergo a tenure review every five years, something professors warned would further staff shortages.

“We want our tenure process to be about academics not politics,” Florida State University professor Matthew Lata said.

The House’s version of the bill, HB 999, is somewhat different from the Senate’s amended version. Those differences are expected to be straightened out in the coming weeks of session.