- States across the country are considering legislation that would ban Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives on college campuses, according to a new tracker promoted by the Chronicle of Higher Education.
- State lawmakers should introduce bills to counter the growing DEI presence because "radical political activists now command so strong a position within universities," David Randall, National Association of Scholars director of research, told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
- "State legislators' work is necessary, but all of us must work to free higher education from the pervasive tyranny of DEI bureaucracies," he said.
Several states are considering legislation that would stifle Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) efforts on college campuses across the country, according to a new tracker operated by The Chronicle of Higher Education.
The slew of legislation largely tackles banning mandatory DEI training, DEI-centered offices or programs or using DEI statements for hiring or admission decisions. It is necessary for state lawmakers to take action because "radical political activists now command so strong a position within universities," David Randall, National Association of Scholars director of research, told the Daily Caller News Foundation. (RELATED: University's Health Leadership Privately Discussed Ways To Keep 'Equity' Initiatives From Public)
"Legislators should look for comprehensive legislation to address the remarkably large number of tactics that radical political activists use to enforce ideological conformity on universities," he explained. "Legislation should seek to broaden financial and administrative transparency as much as possible; defund the cadre of enforcing bureaucrats in 'diversity, equity, and inclusion' offices and embedded throughout university administration; establish principles and practices of intellectual diversity, nondiscrimination, and university neutrality; provide legislators reliable information about whether reforms laws have been put into practice; and provide judicious enforcement mechanisms to remove university administrators who refuse to carry out reform laws."
There have been 26 pieces of legislation filed in the 15 states since March 17, the Chronicle reported . Of these bills, three failed or were tabled.
The content of the bills vary from state to state, according to the Chronicle. Five states, including Iowa, Arizona, Oklahoma, Texas and Florida, are considering a ban on DEI offices and staff while eight states, Montana, Iowa, Missouri, Indiana, Arizona, Tennessee, Oklahoma and Texas, are considering banning mandatory DEI training.
Legislation in Texas, Kansas, Missouri, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia and Florida would prohibit diversity statements , whereas efforts in Arizona, Oklahoma, Missouri, Arkansas and Florida are attempting to end race-based admission practices, the tracker reads.
1/ 26 bills have been introduced across 15 states in an attempt to end diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts on public-university campuses.
We're tracking these bills' contents and bans. Here's how we got here — and what it could mean for #highered : https://t.co/YM1iZjk9E2
— The Chronicle of Higher Education (@chronicle) March 22, 2023
The tracker does not include a recent proposal by Republican Ohio state Rep. Jerry Cirino. His bill, introduced March 15, would ban mandatory DEI trainings and statements.
"I believe it's important to keep Ohio's higher education institutions from going off on a tangent, which they've already started to do … in losing their focus on what their mission ought to be, and that is true diversity of thought being taught on campuses and actual freedom of speech and academic freedoms for everybody to have on all sides of issues," Cirino previously told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
If signed into law, the proposed legislation would have a distinct impact on the current culture on college campuses, Randall told the DCNF.
"'Campus culture' has been formed by a generation and more of increasingly authoritarian intervention by radical higher education bureaucrats–and can only be maintained by their continuous suppression of American freedoms," he said. "Once they are removed, campus culture should rebound remarkably quickly toward the American cultural norm of a love of liberty."
The Chronicle examined state bills that reflect proposed models published by the Goldwater and Manhattan Institutes earlier this year, its methodology section reads. It does not track internal efforts to dismiss DEI policies from university boards or leaders.
"It's imperative that lawmakers tackle the substance behind the DEI regime — not simply the title," Goldwater Institute Director of Education Policy Matt Beienburg told the DCNF. "We've already seen DEI administrators simply rebrand their content to easily evade CRT bans in the K-12 space, so lawmakers who are serious about the problem must enact robust and thorough protections against DEI's various tentacles, regardless of the slogans being used by proponents to describe them on the surface. The Manhattan-Goldwater model legislation provides a framework for doing exactly that."
Reform doesn't have to be peddled by the state legislature, Randall told the DCNF. Instead, governors, boards of educations, boards of trustees, students, faculty and parents should step up to demand reform.
"State legislators' work is necessary, but all of us must work to free higher education from the pervasive tyranny of DEI bureaucracies," he said.
The New College of Florida (NCF) is a prime example of internal efforts to dismantle DEI. The Board of Trustees, now equipped with six conservative members appointed by Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, has so-far axed its DEI-related office and voted to eliminate diversity statements from being used as a hiring tool.
Several Texas university leaders have also put a stop to requiring applicants to submit statements outlining their commitment to DEI. The University of North Carolina Board of Governors voted in February to ban the practice being forced on faculty and students, Daily Mail reported .
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