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Anti-DEI Bills are Already Changing Higher Ed

Public colleges’ diversity, equity, and inclusion offices across the country face an uncertain future as bills that would curtail them move through state legislatures. While anti-DEI legislation hasn’t yet become law this spring, the proposals have already had an impact on campuses.

Some of those impacts are difficult to pin down. Directives from governing boards and system presidents have barred some institutions from putting into place new policies, programs, or trainings as legislative sessions play out.

But it remains unclear if these pauses have affected diversity-related programs that were slated to begin, or if they’re simply symbolic messaging espoused by university-system leaders currying political favor. College officials remain tight-lipped on the current state of diversity, equity, and inclusion programs and what, if anything, has been affected by pauses on new efforts.

Here’s a rundown of the colleges that have publicly suspended diversity efforts this spring.

In March, all three of Iowa’s public universities were ordered by the Board of Regents, State of Iowa to put a hold on any new diversity, equity, and inclusion programs. The board will be studying all current diversity programs and hiring practices.

There is not yet a timeline for the study, but it is likely to take “several months” and continue into the fall semester, according to Josh Lehman, a spokesman for the Board of Regents. He wrote in an email that the process for the study “is still being put together.”

Press officers for the University of Northern Iowa, Iowa State University, and the University of Iowa were unaware of any new diversity policies or programs that have been paused following the board’s announcement.

“Fortunately at the University of Northern Iowa we already had a robust array of DEI programming in place on our campus. We will continue serving our students and community with the programming already in place,” Pete Moris, director of university relations at the University of Northern Iowa, wrote in an email.

Read entire article at Chronicle of Higher Education