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ASU’s DEI Regime Is Even Worse Than You Think—So We’re Dismantling It

September 20, 2023

Should government-run colleges illegally train professors on how white supremacy was “written into the foundational documents of our nation” and is “normalized in society” today? Are leftists turning one of the nation’s top journalism schools into a breeding ground for progressive activists?

That’s just the tip of the iceberg at Arizona State University (ASU). But the Goldwater Institute is dismantling the school’s “diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) regime—a cancerous web of taxpayer-funded, racially discriminatory initiatives that are seeping into every aspect of university life, from faculty hiring to faculty training to classroom indoctrination.

This week, Goldwater sent a pair of letters (here and here) to the Arizona Board of Regents demanding that ASU stop illegally using taxpayer funds to mandate DEI training among faculty and that the university immediately comply with Arizona public records law by disclosing public information it has withheld. The university acknowledged the request for public records, and Goldwater is awaiting to see whether and how it responds.

College professors should be trained to impart academic excellence, not discriminatory political ideologies. But ASU is requiring faculty and staff to take an “ASU Inclusive Communities” training that teaches some of the most extreme DEI concepts. These include references to “how…white supremacy [is] normalized in society” and how “systems of superiority” were “written into the foundational documents of our nation,” as well as references to “critique[ing] whiteness”; “white privilege”; “white fragility”; “the history of white supremacy and the social conditions for it to exist as a structural phenomenon”; “the ways that dominant identities are rarely interrogated”; and the need for “transformative justice.” According to the training, even “seemingly innocuous questions and comments”—like asking people where they’re from or commenting on their hair—can be “racist.”

That’s not all. The university is requiring faculty and staff to take a test after the completion of this training, and if the employee fails to provide the “right” answer—apparently as determined by the university’s orthodoxy enforcers—then they’ll be reported to their supervising dean.

It’s bad enough that ASU required the vast majority of faculty job applicants to pledge allegiance to progressivism by submitting a mandatory “diversity” statement—a practice that Arizona’s public universities only abandoned after months of pressure from the Goldwater Institute. Now the campus thought police want to extend their tentacles into faculty training, too.

It’s not just outlandish; it’s illegal. Last year, the Arizona Legislature passed a law that prohibits the government from spending taxpayer money on trainings that “present any form of blame or judgment on the basis of race, ethnicity or sex”—and that bans state agencies from requiring employees to engage in such trainings. Yet ASU continues to provide the training, and the school has yet to even reveal the post-training test or the criteria it uses to grade the test.

At the same time, ASU is requiring every journalism student at its Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication to take a mandatory DEI course as a requirement for graduation. The Cronkite School is supposed to be one of the country’s preeminent training grounds for journalists; instead it’s forcing cultural and political indoctrination down students’ throats. Making matters worse, the school has delayed in providing full answers to what’s being taught in the DEI course, even though it’s public information under Arizona’s public records law.

Around the nation, the cancer of DEI is fomenting politicized, race- and gender-based discrimination in every phase of university life. But the Goldwater Institute is leading the nation in defeating DEI, one win at a time. In addition to striking a death blow against mandatory “diversity statements” in Arizona, Goldwater passed a reform in Florida banishing these and other discriminatory techniques used by the left to enforce ideological conformity on campus. And in Texas, Goldwater enacted the nation’s most powerful reform to completely defund the bloated apparatus of DEI administrators in public higher education.

If the left got its way, radical DEI would cripple higher education. Not on Goldwater’s watch.

You can read our letters to ASU here and here.

Stacy Skankey is a Staff Attorney at the Goldwater Institute.



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