POLITICS + GOVERNMENT

Lawmakers propose bill to eliminate diversity statements

Jan 16, 2024, 10:44 AM

A pink highlighter emphasizes the word "diversity."...

Two Utah lawmakers have proposed a bill that would eliminate diversity statements from job and university applications. (Canva)

(Canva)

SALT LAKE CITY — Rep. Katy Hall, R-Salt Lake City and Sen. Keith Grover, R-Salt Lake City, proposed a bill to eliminate diversity statements from job and admissions applications for Utah’s public universities. 

Sen. Grover told KSL at Night that House Bill 261 addresses three diversity-related issues. 

According to Grover, diversity statements “sometimes apply to admissions or to employment. That could be in our higher education institutions, in our public ed., or also in government entities.” 

Diversity statements are often signed or filled out by candidates. They are meant to explain how one will promote diversity, equality, and inclusion on their campus. 

Secondly, the bill has a huge emphasis on academic freedom. The bill would allow professors to teach courses that may have been viewed as controversial. 

The senator added that “all of these voices need to be heard. 

Thirdly, the bill establishes student learning centers on every campus.

“We’re just letting each campus president decide what’s best for their university [to] make sure that all of our students that are at risk receive services that they need so they can graduate,” said Grover. 

Keeping universities a “marketplace of ideas”

Additionally, the senator said that the bill would not restrict free speech on university campuses. Rather, it is meant to keep universities in neutral positions, encouraging a “marketplace of ideas.” 

“Students, they can take any position they want. We just like our institutions to remain neutral,” said Grover. 

It is among hundreds of other bills that will be heard during the next 45 days. 

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Lawmakers propose bill to eliminate diversity statements