Iowa governor signs bill banning DEI

May 15, 2024
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Iowa governor Kim Reynolds, a Republican, signed into law an education-funding bill with anti-DEI provisions.

The state’s Board of Regents, which oversees the Universities of Iowa and Northern Iowa as well as Iowa State University, had already adopted a broad diversity, equity and inclusion ban in November.

But the regents’ action didn’t go far enough for Republicans in the Iowa General Assembly.

On April 9, they introduced Senate File 2435 as an education-funding bill. Then they added their own anti-DEI restrictions, sailed the bill through both chambers and passed it along to Governor Reynolds the day before the end of this year’s legislative session.

The legislation bans public institutions from having DEI offices and from hiring or assigning anyone “to perform duties” of a DEI office. The ban goes beyond the directives of the Board of Regents, which had left the definition of DEI open to interpretation, by defining the term to include:

  • “Any effort to manipulate or otherwise influence the composition of the faculty or student body with reference to race, sex, color, or ethnicity.”
  • “Any effort to promote or promulgate trainings, programming, or activities designed or implemented with reference to race, color, ethnicity, gender identity, or sexual orientation.”
  • “Any effort to promote, as the official position of the public institution of higher education, a particular, widely contested opinion referencing unconscious or implicit bias, cultural appropriation, allyship, transgender ideology, microaggressions, group marginalization, antiracism, systemic oppression, social justice, intersectionality, nee-pronouns, heteronormativity, disparate impact, gender theory, racial privilege, sexual privilege, or any related formulation of these concepts.”



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