Red State Governor Signs Bill Rolling Back ‘Diversity, Equity And Inclusion’ Programs

Republican Utah Gov. Spencer Cox signed a bill Tuesday to ban diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) departments at public universities and government-funded employers in the state.

The legislation bans trainings that “promote differential treatment” of individuals on the basis of sex and race and will eliminate offices that enforce the tenets of DEI. The law also appropriates funds for “student success and support” programs, which Cox said would “help all Utah students succeed regardless of their background,” according to a press release.

“We’ve been concerned about some DEI programs and policies, particularly with hiring practices, and this bill offers a balanced solution. I’m grateful to the Legislature for not following the lead of other states that simply eliminated DEI funding with no alternative path for students who may be struggling. Instead, this funding will be repurposed to help all Utah students succeed regardless of their background,” Cox said in a statement Tuesday.

The bill also requires institutions to remain politically neutral and bans the use of diversity statements during hiring, which critics have characterized as political litmus tests.

University of Utah President Taylor Randall announced earlier in January that the school would no longer be using diversity statements in hiring, according to the Deseret News.

Several states have restricted DEI efforts at public colleges.

Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis banned DEI in public universities in May 2023 and Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed a bill outlawing it in June 2023. Idaho banned the use of diversity statements at colleges and universities in April 2023 and the Iowa Board of Regents recommended in November to eliminate DEI programs from state colleges.

Republican Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt signed an executive order banning DEI programs at public universities and at government agencies in December.

Cox did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

Brandon Poulter on January 31, 2024

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