After the murder of George Floyd, our country went through a great racial reckoning, and according to NBC News, “DEI [(diversity, equity, and inclusion)] roles increased by 55% following demands for broader racial equity and justice.” However, three years later, that commitment to diversity roles has seemed to disappear.
Much of this erosion can be attributed to efforts of the GOP, who have tried to vilify and paint it as something it’s not. But simply put, DEI can all be boiled down to the message Vernā Myers, renowned thought leader in this space, often relays, “[d]iversity is being invited to the party; inclusion is being asked to dance.”
In fact, the importance of DEI in higher education spaces is echoed by the American Council on Education, who released a statement, “This collective diversity among institutions is one of the great strengths of America’s higher education system, and has helped make it the best in the world. Preserving that diversity is essential if we hope to serve the needs of our democratic society and of the increasingly global scope of the economy.”
So far, there are 34 bills have been introduced in 20 states that attempt to ban DEI efforts in colleges and universities. Out of those, a governor has signed 1 into law, 3 are at the final legislative approval stage, and 5 have failed or have been tabled.
Using data compiled from Chronicle of Higher Education, ESSENCE presents “Our State of DEI” table with the bills broken down by state and key accompanying restrictions.
|State||Bill #||Status||DEI Offices and Staff||Mandatory DEI Training||Diversity Statements||Identity-Based Preferences for Hiring and Admissions|