Kansas Republicans move to block state’s public colleges from using DEI statements in hiring


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Dive Brief:

  • Republicans in the Kansas Senate are attempting to ban the state’s public colleges from using diversity, equity, and inclusion, or DEI, statements in hiring decisions.
  • State Sen. J.R. Claeys successfully introduced an amendment into a budget bill last week that would block public institutions from relying on DEI statements, which typically involve job applicants detailing their commitment to diversity. Claeys said in an online message these statements promote “perpetual victimhood, resentment and division.”
  • Liberal lawmakers opposed the move, and it could face a veto from the state’s Democratic governor, Laura Kelly. However, Republicans hold supermajorities in both legislative chambers and could override a veto.

Dive Insight:

Republicans in several states have targeted DEI statements as part of their campaigns to broadly challenge diversity initiatives in higher education.

Florida’s Republican governor, Ron DeSantis, has railed against them. Proposed legislation in the Sunshine State would ban public institutions from relying on them in hiring.

Public higher ed networks in Texas — the Texas A&M University, University of Texas and University of Houston systems — also recently stopped using DEI statements after Gov. Greg Abbott’s office informed public institutions and state agencies last month that DEI hiring practices violate state and federal employment laws. 

Abbott, a Republican, said state agencies in hiring could use no factors “other than merit.”


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