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Colleges squirm under anti-diversity, equity and inclusion pressure

Colleges squirm under anti-diversity, equity and inclusion pressure

The Hill

Lexi Lonas
May 30, 2023
Colleges are attempting to find ways to save their diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives as Republican-led states advance efforts to shut down the programs.
Multiple red states have introduced or passed legislation targeting certain aspects of DEI in universities, from mandatory diversity statements to entire offices, causing confusion and fear for faculty and staff.
Texas lawmakers Sunday approved a final version of Republicans’ sweeping anti-DEI measure, sending it to the desk of Gov. Greg Abbott (R), who is expected to sign it, making Texas the second state to declare full-on war against the programs. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signed similar legislation earlier this month.
That move left Florida colleges scrambling.
“I know that, for coursework and for some of the things, they’re just changing the names of committees as opposed to, you know, doing away with them altogether,” said Allan Barsky, professor at Florida Atlantic University’s Sandler School of Social Work.
In Florida’s legislation, public universities are not allowed to use funding on DEI initiatives, aside from programs or activities that are needed to comply with federal laws.
“If you look at the way this has actually been implemented across the country, DEI is better viewed as standing for discrimination, exclusion and indoctrination, and that has no place in our public institutions,” DeSantis, who Wednesday made his 2024 White House bid official, said at the legislation’s signing.
“This bill says the whole experiment with DEI is coming to an end in the state of Florida. We are eliminating the DEI programs,” he added.
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