Red States Introduce Bills That Would Ban Universities From Using Diversity, Equity And Inclusion As A Job Factor

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Alexa Schwerha Contributor
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Several red states are considering legislation that would prohibit universities from mandating that applicants submit statements outlining their commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) for a job, admission or tenure.

Diversity statements are used by universities to determine how committed an applicant is to advancing DEI in the role they are applying for, but have recently come under fire by activists for being a litmus test to screen for political ideology. Florida and West Virginia are the latest states to crack down on the use of diversity statements in university hiring, according to the bills’ texts, following on the heels of Utah and Texas. (RELATED: Multiple Arizona Universities Require Job Applicants To Pledge Support For Diversity, Equity And Inclusion)

Republican Florida state Sen. Keith Perry filed Senate Bill 958 on Monday to stop universities from requiring “political loyalty test or for persons to meet certain qualifications” when being considered for a job or for admission, according to the bill. It would also prohibit such statements from being used to give preferential treatment to an applicant.

“A political loyalty test includes compelling, requiring, or soliciting a person to identify, commit to or to make a statement of personal belief in support of any ideology or movement that promotes the differential treatment of a person or a group of persons based on race or ethnicity,” the bill reads.

Tests that weigh a “specific partisan, political, or ideological set of beliefs” would also be prohibited, according to the bill’s text.

Several West Virginia delegates filed House Bill 3503 on Feb. 14 that would amend the state code and add a section to outlaw discrimination in higher education. The bill defines a diversity statement as a written or oral statement that discusses an applicant’s racial or sexual characteristics, history with DEI and social justice initiatives or support for theories that treat individuals differently based on “race, sex, color, gender, ethnicity, gender identity, or sexual orientation.”

The delegates include Chris Pritt, Todd Longanacre, Chuck Horst, Elias Coop-Gonzalez, Riley Keaton, Todd Kirby, Michael Hornby, Chris Phillips, Pat McGeehan and Caleb Hanna.

The bill would prohibit universities from using such statements to consider an applicant for hiring, promotion, contract renewal or admission as well as prohibit universities from using the information to give preferential consideration. It clarifies that applicants are welcome to submit any information about their commitment to DEI unprompted.

Utah’s bill was introduced on Feb. 13 and prohibits universities from considering statements or documents that elevate an applicant’s work on DEI, anti-racism, implicit bias or Critical Race Theory (CRT). In Texas, Republican Gov. Greg Abbott’s Chief of Staff Garder Pate issued a memo to public universities reminding them that using DEI to hire employees is illegal.

Perry and the West Virginia legislators did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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