Recent investigations conducted by the Goldwater Institute revealed how mandatory DEI trainings mandated by Arizona State University are used to “illegally train professors on how white supremacy was ‘written into the foundational documents of our nation’ and is ‘normalized in society’ today.” ASU also requires students at the Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication to enroll in DEI-focused classes to graduate.
ASU has thus far withheld information about the curricula from the public, so the Goldwater Institute sent two letters to the university along with public records requests demanding more information. The decision to apply pressure came as a result of recent laws passed by the Arizona Legislature prohibiting government spending on trainings that “present any form of blame or judgment on the basis of race, ethnicity, or sex.”
House Bill 2898 prohibits DEI trainings like those at ASU in K-12 public and charter schools and establishes fines for violations. Despite this, DEI remains a prevalent feature of major academic institutions nationwide.
DEI has seen an uptick in support in universities and public institutions across the country. Reporting from Education Week claimed that “district-wide diversity, equity and inclusion training has gained significant popularity in recent years.” But a study from Harvard Business Review indicates that the trainings are ineffective and even divisive, saying, “Laboratory studies show that this kind of force-feeding can activate bias rather than stamp it out.”
This sort of trend has prompted think tanks and policymakers alike to push for legislation prohibiting such curricula while calling out policies like ASU’ which are a clear violation of existing laws. Despite Arizona state law, “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.”
Previous pressure from the Goldwater Institute prompted ASU to eventually discontinue their requirement for the “vast majority of faculty job applicants to pledge allegiance to progressivism by submitting a mandatory ‘diversity’ statement.'” Their continued legal pressures also produced results in other states and universities.
The Goldwater Institute demanded that ASU “stop illegally using taxpayer funds to mandate DEI training … and that the university immediately comply with Arizona public records law by disclosing the information it has withheld.” ASU acknowledged the request but has yet to return with any public records.
Conservative policymakers and pundits remain steadfast in targeting the “cancerous web of taxpayer-funded, racially discriminatory initiatives” that permeate our institutions, “from faculty hiring to faculty training to classroom indoctrination.”