Diversity Programs are Vanishing from US Universities

The most recent conflict in the culture wars gripping American society is visible on university campuses as Diversity programs are vanishing. These programs are currently restricted or outlawed in an increasing number of US states.

The ongoing debate is between conservatives and leftists. Conservatives believe people should be evaluated on their individual merits rather than their skin colour against leftists who support minority students who are victims of systemic injustice.

What is a DEI Program?

A special consideration to minorities in American University comes under the "diversity, equity, and inclusion" (DEI) programs. The minority particularly include those who are Black, Hispanic and Native American, as they sought to correct long-standing inequalities.

The country's conservative-majority Supreme Court last June has put an end to affirmative action in university admissions fueling the debate further. There is reversal of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s.

diversity in universities

Critics of DEI

"The idea of present discrimination being the remedy for past discrimination... is inherently wrong," said Jordan Pace, a Republican member of the House of Representatives in the state of South Carolina.

He said, "We don't like the idea of judging people based on immutable characteristics, whether it be gender or race or height or whatever.” He called the United States a "hyper-meritocratic society."

Now, Pace is urging his state to follow the lead of Florida and about a dozen other states that have scrapped campus DEI programs.

Kentucky State joins Conservatives

Being the first member of her family to attend college, 19-year-old Carlie Reeves arrived at the University of Louisville, she said it was "very obvious that my professors didn't really think I belonged. Didn't really see me as intelligent.”

Reeves shed light upon the benefits of DEI, she said, "leaders of DEI on campus told me you had merit and breathed life into me."

She mentioned Black students who benefited from race-based scholarships as an example of how many minority students are at the school "100 percent because of DEI."

However, on March 15, lawmakers in Kentucky advanced a proposal to limit these kinds of programs, which prompted Reeves to co-sponsor a demonstration on campus.

diveristy programes in university

"It simply seemed like my responsibility to let the students know that these individuals are genuinely attempting to remove us from campus—we need to take action," she remarked. 

Kentucky is going in the same direction as other conservative states like Texas, Alabama, and Idaho. 

The University of Florida terminated DEI programs and associated positions at the start of March as part of Republican Governor Ron DeSantis's campaign against "woke ideology."

Academic Freedom in Alabama 

"I'm really concerned," stated Stephanie Anne Shelton, a professor and the director of diversity at the College of Education at the University of Alabama.

Although the new law in the state permits her to instruct future educators in specific diversity awareness courses, she worries about "the extent to which concepts like academic freedom remain in place."

It is currently illegal in Alabama to "compel a student. to personally affirm, adopt, or adhere to a divisive concept," with the clarification that this includes pressuring someone to feel as though they must "apologise on the basis of their race.”

The law states that noncompliance may result in termination.

Republicans against ‘critical race theory’

Republicans frequently criticize "critical race theory," an academic approach that examines the often-subtle ways in which racism infuses US institutions and legal systems.

diversity programs

Donald Trump, the Republican nominee for president, has advocated for federal reforms.

In a rally in Ohio, he said"On Day One I will sign a new executive  order to cut federal funding for any school pushing critical race theory, transgender insanity, and other inappropriate racial, sexual or political content, onto our children.”

The new legislation, according to professor Jones of Louisville, "roll back the racial clock locally, statewide, and nationally."

He predicted that "a very, very dangerous forgetting that will happen here" would cause Black scholars to avoid states like Florida and Texas in the future.

(Inputs from AFP)

©️ Copyright 2024. All Rights Reserved Powered by Vygr Media.