BY CASEY HARPER | THE CENTER SQUARE
The legislative fight against Diversity, Equity and Inclusion programs in education is gaining strength across the country.
US Senator Marco Rubio, Republican of Florida. introduced the Accreditation Equity in Higher Education Act, which would prohibit accreditation officials from considering an educational institution’s DEI or affirmative action policies when determining accreditation.
DEI departments have exploded at universities in recent years with an increase in new administrators enforcing liberal equity and racial policies at the educational institution. These shows generally embrace the idea of systemic racism, speak of the US as a deeply racist nation, and promote the more aggressive side of the LGBTQ agenda.
In recent years, more and more federally recognized accrediting agencies have implemented DEI requirements for applicants, forcing schools to embrace progressive ideas about race and gender or risk losing their accreditation.
“The awakening should not be mandatory,” Rubio said in a statement after introducing the bill, which the Florida senator said “seeks to prevent a politicized Department of Education from continuing to impose diversity, equity and inclusion policies on higher education. ”.
In practice, the application of the DEI manifests itself in various ways.
In a fact sheet released by the Department of Education, the agency touts President Joe Biden’s emphasis on DEI and presents several examples of possible DEI activities.
From the DOE:
• training in diversity, equity and inclusion;
• instruction or training on the impact of racism or systemic racism;
• cultural competency training or other nondiscrimination training;
• Efforts to assess or improve school climate, including through the creation of student, staff, and/or parent teams, use of community focus groups, or use of climate surveys;
• student assemblies or programs focused on anti-harassment or bullying;
• investigations and reporting on the causes of racial disparities within a school; either
• use of specific words in school policies, programs, or activities, such as equity, discrimination, inclusion, diversity, systemic racism, or similar terms
The federal agency goes to great lengths to argue that these activities do not “create a hostile environment on the basis of race.”
US Sens. Rick Scott, R-Fla., and Mike Lee, R-Utah, are helping lead the effort to undo these federally-backed accreditation requirements.
“We need to make sure that no school is judged based on whether a DEI agenda is used,” Scott said.
Lee said the effort “guards against manipulation of the accreditation process to further ideological agendas.”
The Senate effort is the latest pushback against DEI. State legislators and governors have already begun to take on DEI’s policies, as formerly The Center Square reported.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed a bill into law last week that would end taxpayer funding for DEI programs at public colleges and universities.
Meanwhile, the US Supreme Court is taking up the issue of affirmative action and may ban the policy. The high court is expected to issue a ruling in the coming weeks on the case, which considers the race-based admissions policies at Harvard and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Specifically, the ruling in this case could have a major impact on the affirmative action of schools policies and how they discriminate based on race, especially if schools that receive federal funds can continue to do so.
Students for Fair Admissions, a nonprofit group with 20,000 members, filed the relevant lawsuit against Harvard and the University of North Carolina in 2014. The lawsuit alleges that the policies discriminate against white and Asian-American applicants. Both SFFA cases have been defeated in lower courts, but now the Supreme Court will have its ruling imminent.