Legislation Seeks to Limit Discussions on Race and Identity
A new bill has been proposed to restrict discussions on race, ethnicity, and identity in higher education institutions. The bill, if passed, would only allow for the inclusion of basic demographic information and discussions related to diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts. This move is seen as an attempt to combat what some lawmakers perceive as a spread of toxic campus culture.
Compelling Schools to Comply Under the Higher Education Act
The proposed legislation would use funding leverage under the Higher Education Act to compel schools to adhere to its guidelines. Representative Dan Crenshaw, a vocal supporter of the bill, argues that higher education is suffering from moral bankruptcy and that the current diversity, equity, and inclusion bureaucracy is to blame for creating a divisive campus atmosphere.
“Make no mistake – the DEI bureaucracy is directly responsible for a toxic campus culture that separates everyone into oppressor vs oppressed,” Crenshaw stated in a recent interview with Fox News Digital.
Restrictions on Acceptance and Employment Standards
In addition to limiting discussions on race and identity, the bill would also prohibit colleges and universities from using these statements as a standard for acceptance or employment. This move is part of a broader trend seen across the United States, as several states have recently passed or proposed legislation against diversity, equity, and inclusion programs in public higher education institutions.
Texas and Oklahoma Lead the Way
The state of Texas recently passed a law that will go into effect in January 2024, requiring public colleges to dismantle any diversity, equity, and inclusion offices, trainings, and requirements. Governor Greg Abbott signed the bill, which has been met with both support and criticism.
Last week, Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt signed an executive order banning the use of state funding, property, or resources for diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives at public colleges in the state.
Nationwide Effort to Limit DEI Initiatives
The proposed bill is part of a larger trend, with 40 bills introduced in 22 states aimed at limiting diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives in higher education. These efforts have sparked a national conversation on the role of such programs in academic institutions.
The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that as of July 2023, lawmakers in 22 states are actively considering legislation to restrict or dismantle DEI programs at colleges and universities.