All public schools and universities may soon have to submit DEI reports to the state

You hear it almost everywhere these days diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Published: Apr. 17, 2023 at 6:37 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Some Louisiana lawmakers are expressing concerns that diversity, equity, and inclusion programs are pushing a specific political narrative.

“We’ve gotten complaints from either parents of students, or maybe students, or maybe even staff,” said Rep. Beryl Amedee, a Republican.

Rep. Amedee said, from what she’s heard, some of the campus programs try to force certain political ideologies or agendas for everyone on campus to embrace.

“They’re expected to agree to something that the school is promoting that is a cultural concept rather than the actual subject matter that they’re supposed to be teaching,” Rep. Amedee continued.

Rep. Amedee also said the programs can be a financial burden to schools that need to hire additional staff.

To find out how much money is used and what it’s used for on these campuses, Rep. Valarie Hodges, a Republican, has filed a bill requiring all public schools to submit written reports of all campus programs and activities related to critical race theory, DEI, or transformative emotional learning by October of 2023.

“I don’t want to speak for all Republicans, but I will tell you, as a general rule, Republicans believe that universities should be about education and not indoctrination,” said Rep. Charles Owens, a Republican.

Rep. Owens said he’s not trying to ban DEIs but instead wants to see a standard these programs are held to without overstepping anyone’s boundaries.

“Why don’t we get a good sight picture for Louisiana? I think that would be great for us all to have. So, there’s some standard of continuity so we as a citizens can understand what’s going on,” Rep. Owens explained.

“It gets rather personal sometimes. It gets to be where they might have to sign on or be expected to make certain statements or read certain statements that they are philosophically differing from,” Rep. Amedee added.

In response to the legislation, the University of Louisiana System writes, in part, “As public institutions, we have a duty to be transparent in our operations. Complying with legislative requests for information is a given.”

Rep. Amedee sits on the Louisiana House Education Committee and said she hopes to learn more in a broad conversation about this issue.

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