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Dismantling ASU’s Discriminatory DEI Regime

Anderson v. Arizona Board of Regents

Case Status

Date Filed

March 19, 2024

Last Step

Filed complaint in Maricopa County Superior Court.

Next Step

Awaiting opposing party’s response.

Case Overview

Owen Anderson was hired as a faculty member of ASU. In October 2022, Anderson received an email from ASU that all employees were required to take the ASU Inclusive Communities training and they would have to repeat the training again every two years. Anderson understood that if he failed to take the training that it would be reported to his supervisor. He understood that after taking the training, he would also be required to take an online quiz testing his knowledge of the training and failed answers would be reported to his supervisor. Anderson viewed, but did not complete the mandatory training nor the required quiz that followed.

In May 2023, the Goldwater Institute received via a public records request, the slides and video transcript from the ASU Inclusive Communities training. The slides included statements or concepts including, but not limited to: acknowledging the history of white supremacy and social conditions for it to exist as a structural phenomenon; how perceptions of authority and control are not granted to minoritized faculty; racism takes the form of innocuous questions or comments; and heterosexuality is privileged and goes unquestioned. The video transcript included, but was not limited to, the following statements or concepts: it scares people to be called a white supremacist; we have to open the space to critique whiteness; and white supremacy was written into the foundational documents of our Nation. The Inclusive Communities training thus promulgated and funded concepts of blame or judgment on the basis of race, ethnicity or sex in violation of Arizona law.

This training is followed by the Inclusive Communities quiz. The quiz designated the “correct” answers to statements or concepts including, but not limited to: systemic unconscious bias; land acknowledgment statements holding organizations and people accountable; that diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging should be part of every facet of the university; decolonizing the university; and transformative justice.

In September 2023, the Goldwater Institute sent a letter to the Arizona Board of Regents (ABOR) demanding that ASU immediately cease and desist from spending any public monies to provide the ASU Inclusive Communities training and/or requiring that any member of the ASU faculty or staff participate in such training. But, despite its warning, ASU continues to fund and require the training.

ASU continues to spend taxpayer money on the ASU Inclusive Communities training and continues to require that public employees take this training, in violation of state law. ASU continues to mandate that employees take a quiz following the Inclusive Communities training and attest their allegiance to these principles by selecting “correct” answers, thereby compelling ASU employees’ speech, in violation of the Arizona Constitution.

Case Logistics

The case is Anderson v. Arizona Board of Regents. The complaint was filed on March 19, 2024, in Maricopa County Superior Court.

Case Documents

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