Alabama Governor Kay Ivey Signs Broad Law Banning Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Public Schools and Universities

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Alabama Capitol Building in Montgomery, Alabama


Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey on Wednesday signed a sweeping bill into law that prohibits public schools and universities from maintaining or funding diversity, equity and inclusion programs.

The law, known as SB129, also requires public universities to “designate bathrooms based on biological sex” (which Alabama law defines as “the physical condition of being male or female, as indicated on the student’s original birth certificate.” individual”) and not the gender that aligns with how a person identifies.

In a statement shared with CNN on Wednesday, Governor Ivey said her administration “will continue to value Alabama’s rich diversity,” but vowed to prevent DEI supporters and proponents from following a “liberal political movement contrary to what most people believe.” Alabamians.”

The law goes into effect on October 1, 2024.

SB129 comes amid a nationwide push by conservative lawmakers to limit the rights of transgender and LGBTQ people and ban DEI programs after the Supreme Court struck down affirmative action.

The legislation prohibits local public school boards and universities from maintaining an office or department that promotes DEI. It also prohibits students, employees, and contractors from being required to attend any “DEI training, orientation, or coursework that advocates or requires consent to a divisive concept.”

The legislation outlines eight “divisive concepts,” including discussions about conscious or subconscious racism and sexism, and whether “meritocracy or traits like a hard work ethic are racist or sexist,” which are now banned.

It also empowers state agencies – including local boards of education and public universities – to “discipline or terminate any employee or contractor who knowingly violates this law.”

However, the law specifically states that does not prohibit students and staff from hosting DEI programs “as long as no state funds are used.” Universities are also allowed to “engage in recruitment and outreach programs” and teach topics and events in a “historically accurate context.”

Earlier this month, protesters rallied outside the Alabama State Capitol and urged lawmakers to oppose the bill, holding signs that read “Democracy thrives on diversity” and “DEI saves lives.”

The ACLU of Alabama also spoke out against state lawmakers’ attempt to frame DEI programs as “divisive.”

“This bill is intended to have a chilling effect on discourse about race, class, sexuality, and national origin, and seeks to characterize these discussions and the precise teachings, tasks, and trainings that also complement them as ‘divisive,'” the legal defense said. . cluster wrote in a statement on their website.

Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin said he would encourage black athletes to consider attending. universities outside your state if the bill became law.

“To the State of Alabama: Why would you make it illegal for institutions of higher education to promote diversity and inclusion among their faculty and staff?” “Why would you block fair representation and opportunities for all people?” Woodfin wrote in X.

“While I am Bama’s biggest fan, I have no problem organizing Black parents and athletes to attend other out-of-state institutions where diversity and inclusion are prioritized.”

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