Utah Bans DEI Policies at Public Colleges and K-12 Schools

2024-02-02 05:00:17

This is becoming the norm in red states and that’s a good thing.

The Salt Lake Tribune reports:

Gov. Cox signs Utah anti-DEI bill prohibiting diversity efforts he once championed

Gov. Spencer Cox signed off on Utah’s anti-DEI bill Tuesday, setting in motion a far-reaching rollback of diversity efforts across all of public education and government in the state.

Utah is now the latest in a string of red states to pass similar measures into law. And while his approval of HB261 was largely anticipated — the Republican governor has been vocal on the issue in the past few months — it does mark a shift further to the right for Cox.

“We’ve been concerned about some DEI programs and policies, particularly with hiring practices, and this bill offers a balanced solution,” he said in a statement Tuesday.

Cox started his term in office in January 2021 by signing onto the Utah Compact on Racial Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. At the time, he also encouraged his staff to put their names on the agreement pledging to call out discrimination.

Now, with his signature on HB261, the state’s public colleges, universities, K-12 schools and government offices will have to remove the same words that appear in the compact, “diversity, equity and inclusion,” from their program names and open any specific race- or gender-based efforts to all individuals.

As employers, those institutions will also be forbidden from similarly encouraging their staff to sign onto any kind of statement — like the compact —about diversity. They cannot ask applicants about their beliefs about DEI as part of the hiring process, a practice that Cox recently described as “bordering on evil” for higher education.

Cox announced he’d signed the bill at the same time as he did HB257 — the other piece of major legislation passed quickly this session — which bars transgender Utahns from using bathrooms and locker rooms in government buildings.

The governor insisted both bills are about protecting “all” Utahns.


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