AL Governor Bans DEI At Public Universities

All programs that focus on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) at public universities in Alabama are now banned.

That rule is now in place after Republican Governor Kay Ivey signed a new law last week. The law also applies to all state agencies in Alabama.

In addition, the bill, known as SB129, requires state agencies and public universities to have bathrooms that are specifically designated for each sex.

The bill found its way on Ivey’s desk after winning easy approval in the state Senate and state House. DEI programs have come under heavy scrutiny throughout the country, as conservative states, institutions and entities have criticized their focus on a person’s identity as opposed to any true merit.

In a statement about the bill, Ivey said:

“My administration has and will continue to value Alabama’s rich diversity. However, I refuse to allow a few bad actors on college campuses — or wherever else for that matter — to go under the acronym of DEI, using taxpayer funds, to push their liberal political movement counter to what the majority of Alabamians believe.

“We have already taken action to prevent this in our K-12 classrooms, and I am pleased to sign SB129 to protect our college campuses. Supporting academic freedom, embracing diversity of cultures and backgrounds and treating people fairly are all key components of what we believe in Alabama, and I am more than confident that will continue.”

The new law prohibits “certain public entities” from maintaining a specific DEI office or from sponsoring any DEI programs. It also prohibits the “promotion, endorsement and affirmation of certain divisive concepts in certain public settings.”

One divisive concept that is typically included under the DEI umbrella is the feeling that people can be either inherently racist or responsible for slavery just because of their skin color. Large segments of the public education system in the country have promoted this theory recently, and those measures have been fought back against fervently.

Under Alabama’s new law, other concepts that are banned include teaching a concept that there is white guilt, as well as promoting an idea that it’s racist to believe in hard work and/or meritocracy.

Liberal groups and Democrats widely opposed the measure in Alabama, as they believe it’s going to be used to prevent history teachers from talking at all about slavery or about any topics related to slavery.

Supporters, though, say it doesn’t prevent people from teaching history that’s accurate or from discussing any of the negative aspects of the past in Alabama specifically.

Other conservative-led states in the south such as Texas and Florida have already passed similar bills that ban these programs and initiatives in their states.

Some Republican members of Congress are pushing for laws that would remove federal funding from any medical school that incorporates DEI programs into their instruction or admissions practices.

One such bill was introduced this month by Representative Greg Murphy of North Carolina, who’s Congress’ lone practicing physician.