HomePoliticsUtah Senate passes bill limiting diversity, equity and inclusion policies

Utah Senate passes bill limiting diversity, equity and inclusion policies

The Utah Senate has passed a bill that many leaders say is seeking to eliminate diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) policies.

According to The Salt Lake City Tribune, the state Senate voted 23-6 on Thursday to pass anti-DEI bill HB261. All 6 Democrats in the Senate voted against the bill.

Under HB 261, a public institution in Utah would not be allowed to implement hiring, admissions, promotions and program participation practices that promote differential treatment based on “personal identity characteristics,” Deseret News reports. Those personal identity characteristics include “race, color, ethnicity, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, or gender identity.”

For example, a government program looking to hire employees from underrepresented communities in Utah would be deemed discriminatory, and therefore, illegal under HB261.

According to KSL.com public schools, colleges and universities that have programs geared towards students of color and other marginalized communities would be forced to broaden the scope of those programs to include white students and “other students.”

Sen. Karen Kwan, D-Murray, told KSL.com she’s worried about the future of cultural centers on college campuses.

“I worry that if students of color get to school and they see that they no longer have a dedicated space with culturally competent staff to help them, that that’s all they’ll know about the bill — that we took away … what to many students is their only safe space,” she told KSL.com.

Proponents of the bill say they don’t think that college cultural centers will be impacted, but Kwan is doubtful.

The bill will head to the House on Friday for final amendments and a vote.

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