• April 20, 2024

Goldwater Institute Sues Arizona State University Over Unlawful Mandatory DEI Training

 Goldwater Institute Sues Arizona State University Over Unlawful Mandatory DEI Training

EVAN POELLINGER | MARCH 27, 2024

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The Goldwater Institute is suing Arizona State University (ASU) on behalf of a professor who is facing disciplinary action after refusing to participate in mandatory Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) training. CNSNews spoke with Goldwater Institute Staff Attorney Stacy Skankey about the case on Monday.

Skankey explained to CNSNews that the case originated from the experiences of Dr. Owen Anderson, a professor of philosophy and religious studies at ASU. Anderson received an email on October 22, 2022 detailing how ASU faculty were mandated to take DEI-related training and pass an assessment within 90 days. Anderson refused to take the DEI training and declared, in an interview with Fox News, that “this ‘training’ is simply racism under the guise of DEI. It goes against my conscience, and I want no part of it.”

Aside from infringing upon Anderson’s beliefs, the mandated DEI training also runs contrary to Arizona state law, which prohibits such mandatory training for public employees.

“What we do know is that the statute was passed about two years ago or so, and so it’s still fairly recent, and we know in general they have had similar types of training for a few years,” Skankey explained. As far as the potential punishment facing Anderson for his non-compliance, Skankey stated, “[I]n some of the emails that we’ve reviewed, both from Dr. Owen Anderson and then we have some other professors who have declined to have their name on a complaint but also disagree with this material, there is an email saying that they have been reported to HR or that this could be reported to their supervisor, both if they don’t complete the training or if they get the test portion incorrect.”

The materials within the mandated DEI training include classic left-wing ideological talking points, while adding the word “belonging” to the DEI acronym. These include “explaining white privilege to a broke white person,” and describing “7 ways white people can combat their privilege.” Answers to the test portion include an answer of “false” to the true-or-false question “bias is informed by fact and not ideologies,” along with the declaration that “DEIB should be part of every facet of the university” in response to the question “which of the following areas of the university should address DEIB?”

As for what those concerned about Anderson’s case and others should consider going forward, Skankey surmised, “the message we have been trying to get across, in general, is that public employees should not be forced to take a training, or to affirm identities to which they disagree as a condition of employment, and particularly this DEI training and training like this in Arizona is illegal, both to mandate it and to fund it with taxpayer money.”

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