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Week in Review: “Extreme racial politics of DEI are crumbling”

May 10, 2024

Something remarkable happened this week in the world of higher education. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) announced that it is eliminating so-called “diversity statements” in faculty job searches—a huge victory in the fight against discriminatory Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) policies that are infecting college campuses today.

But MIT’s decision (which Goldwater’s Tim Minella writes about here) didn’t happen by accident. As one columnist wrote in the Arizona Republic this week, MIT’s decision follows decisions by Arizona’s three major universities, which were prompted by the work of the Goldwater Institute.

“[In] August 2023, the Arizona Board of Regents announced the state’s three public universities would pull the plug on diversity statements. It was not a celebratory moment. At least for the universities. They were pushed to moderate by an old foe they had long viewed as extreme — the Goldwater Institute,” columnist Phil Boas wrote.

In January 2023, Goldwater exposed the pernicious practice in Arizona’s public universities, where up to 80% of faculty job openings pushed applicants to pledge support for DEI. Next, Goldwater announced a new reform that bans mandatory diversity statements at public institutions—and we went on to pass that law in Texas and several other states, including five this year. But our mission is by no means over. We’re going to continue to pass laws to defund DEI at public universities, and our attorneys will provide the muscle to ensure those laws are enforced.

You can read Boas’ article “Extreme racial politics of DEI are crumbling” here.


Victory in Mother’s Fight Against School District’s Lies

Imagine a mother getting ready to send her daughter to kindergarten. She asks for information about her child’s curriculum, but the school stonewalls her and then demands $74,000 in fees to access the information. To make matters worse, the nation’s largest teachers union sues the mom for requesting those records.

That’s the shocking backdrop of Rhode Island mom Nicole Solas’ latest battle for transparency from a public school district—this time involving the South Kingstown School District’s decision to first withhold records from Nicole and then bar her from attending secret meetings of the taxpayer-funded Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) Advisory Board, which developed policies for the district.

Nicole wasn’t about to back down—and neither were the attorneys at the Goldwater Institute’s American Freedom Network who stood up for her rights in court. This week, we won an important victory in her case. Read more about it here.


Supreme Court Justices Question Civil Asset Forfeiture

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled this week that when the government confiscates a car under the “civil asset forfeiture” laws, it owes the owner a “timely” hearing—but doesn’t have to hold a preliminary hearing to decide whether it can keep the car while the lawsuit is proceeding.

It’s an unfortunate decision for citizens who face a constant threat of property seizure under an antiquated and unjustifiable forfeiture scheme that has been systematically abused in many states. The silver lining, however, is that several justices expressed discomfort with the whole notion of forfeiture, and expressed hope that a future lawsuit might curtail its abuse.

The Goldwater Institute has championed civil asset forfeiture reform, has fought successfully on behalf of victims of the unjust practice, and won a significant victory in Arizona in 2021 when Gov. Doug Ducey signed a bipartisan law that requires a criminal conviction before civil forfeiture.

Read more analysis about the Supreme Court’s decision from Timothy Sandefur, Vice President for Legal Affairs at the Goldwater Institute, here. And you can read about our work fighting civil forfeiture here.





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