Alabama Governor Signs Bill Banning Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Programs –

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey signed legislation Wednesday that would ban diversity, equity and inclusion programs in public schools, universities and state agencies and ban the teaching of “divisive concepts,” including that someone should feel guilty because of their race or gender.

The measure, which takes effect Oct. 1, is part of a wave of proposals from Republican lawmakers across the country targeting diversity, equity and inclusion, also known as DEI, programs on college campuses. Republicans say the programs deepen divisions and promote a particular political point of view. But opponents say it is a rollback of hard-won progress and programs that welcome underrepresented student populations.

“My administration has and will continue to value Alabama’s rich diversity; However, I refuse to allow some bad actors on college campuses – or anywhere else – to use the DEI acronym, using taxpayer funds, to push their liberal policies. political movement contrary to what the majority of Alabamians believe,” Ivey said in a statement.

Also on Wednesday, an Alabama House committee advanced legislation that would ban teacher-led discussions in public schools about sexual orientation and gender identity and ban the display of Pride flags in classrooms. The measure, part of a wave of laws across the country that critics have dubbed “Don’t Say Gay,” now moves to the House floor.

The DEI measure was harshly criticized by its opponents, who said it was taking the state backwards, rather than forward.

“This regressive measure undermines the progress we have made in cultivating an inclusive society in Alabama by stifling essential debates and programs that are key to improving our state,” said Alabama House Minority Leader Anthony Daniels. .

Daniels said it “has a detrimental impact on college students’ educational experience by eliminating programs in which they can receive support, build communities, and learn to be prosperous, inclusive citizens.”

The Alabama legislation would prohibit universities, K-12 school systems and state agencies from sponsoring DEI programs, defined under the bill as classes, training, programs and events where attendance is based on race, sex, gender identity, ethnicity and national origin of a person. or sexual orientation.

The bill also says that schools, universities and state agencies cannot require students, employees and contractors to attend classes and training sessions “that advocate or require consent” to what the bill lists as eight ” divisive concepts.”

The list of prohibited concepts includes that “any individual must accept, acknowledge, affirm or assent to a feeling of guilt, complicity or need to apologize based on his or her race, color, religion, sex, ethnicity or national origin,” or that Blame, blame, or prejudice should be assigned to people based on their race, religion, gender, or national origin.

Auburn University, a public institution, said in a letter to faculty, staff and students that it was evaluating the implications of the new law.

The measure will affect “the use of state funds to sponsor DEI programs and activities,” but does not prohibit instruction associated with accreditation standards and academic support for students of a particular demographic group, university leadership wrote.

“We are resolute in our mission to provide exceptional student experiences and support all of our students with special emphasis on providing access and opportunity,” the letter said.

The bill would also attempt to prohibit transgender people on college campuses from using multiple-occupancy bathrooms that correspond with their current gender identity.

The legislation says colleges and universities “shall ensure that each multiple-occupancy bathroom is designated for individual use based on” the sex a person was assigned at birth. It is unclear how the requirement would be enforced.

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