The State That’s Trying to Rein in DEI Without Becoming Florida

March 31, 2024 1 min read

Conor Friedersdorf
The Atlantic

Excerpt: Roughly a decade after the movement for diversity, equity, and inclusion, or DEI, began to spread in American higher education, a political backlash is here. The Chronicle of Higher Education has tallied 80 bills since 2023 that aim to restrict DEI in some way, by banning DEI offices, mandatory diversity training, faculty diversity statements, and more. Eight have already become law, including in Texas, Florida, North Carolina, Tennessee, North Dakota, and Utah. The worst of these laws violate academic independence and free speech by attempting to forbid certain ideas in the classroom.

Utah’s Equal Opportunities Initiatives, or H.B. 261, which was signed into law in January, is more promising. It attempts to end the excessive and at times coercive focus on identity in higher education while also trying to protect academic freedom with carve-outs for research and course teaching.

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