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Alabama gov. signs law banning DEI funding at universities, blocks men from women’s bathrooms

Bans using taxpayer funds ‘to push liberal political movement,’ governor says

Public schools and universities in Alabama cannot fund any diversity, equity and inclusion program or maintain an office or department that promotes DEI under a law signed Wednesday by Gov. Kay Ivey.

The law also outlaws biological men from using women’s bathrooms, stating “each public institution of higher education shall ensure that every multiple occupancy restroom be designated for use by individuals based on their biological sex.”

The law forbids public K-12 schools and state universities from compelling a student or employee to personally affirm or adhere to a “divisive concept,” such as white privilege, or require their attendance at a mandatory DEI workshop.

The legislation, SB 129, defines “divisive concepts” as arguments “that individuals should be discriminated against or adversely treated because of their race, color, religion or sex” or that “the moral character of an individual is determined by his or her race, ethnicity or national origin.”

The law, which takes effect Oct. 1, states DEI concepts can still be discussed in the classroom, but cannot be compelled. It points out that nothing prevents students or faculty organizations “from hosting diversity, equity, and inclusion programs or discussions that may involve divisive concepts, provided that no state funds are used to sponsor these programs.”

“My administration has and will continue to value Alabama’s rich diversity, however, I refuse to allow a few bad actors on college campuses – or wherever else for that matter – to go under the acronym of DEI, using taxpayer funds, to push their liberal political movement counter to what the majority of Alabamians believe,” Ivey said in a prepared statement.

As The College Fix previously reported, the bill had sparked anger among Democrats and some students, sparking petitions and protests. Some even encouraged student athletes to avoid Alabama schools.

The bill came six-plus months after a report found the University of Alabama and Auburn University embrace DEI policies to the detriment of the quality of the schools.

The Associated Press reports that Auburn University told the campus community in a memo it’s evaluating the new law.

“The measure will affect ‘use of state funds to sponsor DEI programs and activities’ but does not prohibit instruction associated with accreditation standards and academic support for students of a particular demographic, university leadership wrote,” according to AP.

“We are resolute in our mission to deliver exceptional student experiences and to provide support to all of our students with particular emphasis on providing access and opportunity,” the letter stated.

The NAACP quickly denounced the bill’s signage.

“The ongoing assault on diversity, equity, and inclusion is part of an anti-Black agenda that seeks to revert our nation back to a time where Black students and teachers were denied adequate access to the classroom. We refuse to go back,” President Derrick Johnson said in a prepared statement this week.

“The NAACP remains committed to exploring all avenues of advocacy, mobilization, and litigation to ensure that our young people have the resources and support they deserve. But we can’t do this alone. As we have for centuries, it’s time for our community to band together and use our collective power to correct the course of justice. This fight is far from over. What side of history will you be on?”

MORE: Outrage erupts after Alabama Senate OKs bill to ban DEI, and men from women’s bathrooms

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About the Author
Fix Editor
Jennifer Kabbany is editor-in-chief of The College Fix.