EDUCATION + SCHOOLS

NAACP responds to Gov. Cox’s statement on diversity programs in Utah

Dec 18, 2023, 10:05 AM | Updated: Dec 20, 2023, 3:05 pm

Gov. Spencer Cox explains portions of the proposal as he and Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson sit down wit...

Gov. Spencer Cox explains portions of the proposal as he and Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson sit down with Deseret News reporters and editors to discuss the state budget proposal, including his desire to build more starter homes, at the Capitol in Salt Lake City on Monday, Dec. 4, 2023. (Scott G. Winterton /Deseret News 2023)

(Scott G. Winterton /Deseret News 2023)

SALT LAKE CITY — The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People issued a response to statements made by Governor Cox during a virtual town hall meeting. Jeanetta Williams, the NAACP Salt Lake Branch president, said the governor is only hearing a one-sided view of diversity. 

During the December 12 meeting, Cox said “I am worried that some of those programs on college campuses aren’t doing what they set out to do. I think they’ve gotten very political and I think they’re doing more to divide us than bring us together.” 

Williams said she is disheartened to hear Gov. Cox talk negatively about diversity in colleges. 

“Where we’re judged not by the color of our skin but by the content of our character. Those are the things that matter and we’re doing better at that in some areas of Utah,” Gov. Cox said during the virtual meeting. 

The NAACP responded to the governor’s use of  the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s quote by expressing frustration with conservative politician’s use of that quote to target diversity efforts in schools. 

Williams also said that diversity, equity, and inclusion programs are only divisive to those who want to dismantle them. She challenged the governor to get diversity groups in a room with colleges and legislators to discuss the issue before making public statements. 

The NAACP statement ended with a plea to the governor. It asked him to learn to see things from another perspective and embrace diversity. 

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NAACP responds to Gov. Cox’s statement on diversity programs in Utah