Activists to Evade DEI Bans by “dispensing more training and responsibilities across existing academic departments, student-facing offices and administrative roles”
“What that resistance looks like—and how difficult it will be to maintain if the march of anti-DEI legislation continues—remains murky.”
This just validates an important point we have been making for a long time. DEI is not about what it claims to be, it is completely about politics, specifically the politics of the left.
Inside Higher Ed reports:
DEI as an ‘Act of Resistance’
It is a difficult time to be a DEI professional in higher education—especially in states where the field has come under intense scrutiny from lawmakers seeking to legislate it out of existence at public institutions. Or in states like Florida, Ohio and Texas, where they already have.
Some diversity officers, including Cecil Howard, the former chief diversity officer at the University of South Florida, have left their red-state institutions and vowed not to pursue jobs in states with similar challenges.
“I tell people, I live in Florida but I won’t work here anymore,” Howard told Inside Higher Ed in January. “People who are very talented won’t come to Florida—or a number of other states—to do this work anymore. I said no to a job in Tennessee recently for the same reasons.”
But that’s not the whole story, according to many diversity officers who spoke both on and off the record. Some DEI practitioners, faculty invested in diversity and equity goals, and student-facing professionals in red states are fighting back against threats to their work, despite the resistance they face from board members, lawmakers and the voting public.
“There’s this narrative in the South like we’re doing nothing, and that’s just not true,” said Vanessa Sansone, an assistant professor of higher education at the University of Texas at San Antonio. “Plenty of folks are staying and working, and that is a form of resistance.”
What that resistance looks like—and how difficult it will be to maintain if the march of anti-DEI legislation continues—remains murky. What’s more certain, Sansone said, is the feeling of urgency and even dissidence that has come to define DEI work in the face of the growing movement to quash it…
Adrianna Kezar, director of the Pullias Center for Higher Education at the University of Southern California, suggested strategies that institutions can adopt to make DEI harder to target. One such approach calls for Shared Equity Leadership (SEL), which Kezar said essentially means creating fewer—if any—formal DEI-focused positions while dispensing more training and responsibilities across existing academic departments, student-facing offices and administrative roles.
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