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Colleges squirm under anti-diversity, equity and inclusion pressure (GOOD!)


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The Hill

Lexi Lonas

05/30/23

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.

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And defenders of the programs are not giving up.

“I believe what colleges and universities need to start doing, especially the presidents, is releasing official statements regarding the state of affairs of diversity, equity and inclusion, along with what they are going to be doing,” said Jordan Beasley, a junior at Syracuse University and president of the National Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Collegiate Council.

“They need to show their students that regardless of what these draconian laws say, that they are going to keep their commitments that they have made, that they have continued to work on,” he added.

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