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Anti-DEI Bill Passes House and Senate, Gov. Cox Expected to Sign Into Law

H.B. 261 would restrict DEI efforts in government offices and Utah education.
Marco Lozzi
Rep. Katy Hall smiles after H.B. 261 3rd Substitute officially passes in the House Chamber at the Utah State Capitol in Salt Lake City on Friday, Jan. 19, 2024. (Photo by Marco Lozzi | The Daily Utah Chronicle)


H.B. 261, Utah’s bill restricting diversity, equity and inclusion practices in education, passed the House this Friday and will be sent for approval by Gov. Spencer Cox, who has already expressed support for anti-DEI measures.

With a 60-14 vote, Republicans progressed the initiative to remove DEI practices within government organizations and the Utah education system, a controversial concept since its introduction on Jan. 11. 

In a televised press conference on Dec. 20, Cox said that DEI is “awful” and “bordering on evil,” when encouraging Utah institutions of higher education to stop using diversity statements in job postings and interviews.

In response, President Taylor Randall told U hiring committees to stop using diversity statements within their postings for the university. Randall also implemented a Free Speech Task Force to determine the current campus climate, a “proactive” effort to address free speech and DEI issues that are additionally being challenged on college campuses throughout the country.

A bill of this kind isn’t new to the Legislature — a bill similar to H.B. 261 was introduced in the 2023 session. However, due to pushback, Deseret News reported the bill was adjusted to a study of DEI programs. The bills “could encourage self-censorship and deepen existing inequities.”

The bill was proposed by Rep. Katy Hall (R-South Ogden) and Sen. Keith Grover (R-Provo), and Hall reiterated in multiple hearings that the purpose of H.B. 261 was to “removing barriers” within Utah systems. Hall also said it was university professors who brought up the concern of DEI promoting discrimination on college campuses. 

In the Senate hearing on Jan. 22, Hall said DEI “divides and does not unite” the people. She said professors feel they are “walking on eggshells” and that DEI teaches the community not to trust each other. 

Under this bill, K-12 and higher education, as well as government offices will be prohibited from using the terms “diversity, equity and inclusion” within their mission efforts, including in recruitment, training and providing resources. Any institutions currently using DEI efforts must transition into compliance with the bill’s policies. 

Rep. Katy Hall speaks during deliberation on H.B. 261 3rd Substitute in the House Chamber at the Utah State Capitol in Salt Lake City on Friday, Jan. 19, 2024. (Photo by Marco Lozzi | The Daily Utah Chronicle) (Marco Lozzi)

Hall said there is “not much” data to support the claim that DEI creates discrimination, but has led with commentary from community members such as professors and government workers. 

The Utah System of Higher Education also said they support this bill. Geoffrey Landward, interim commissioner, said USHE’s vision is to provide every Utahn with the opportunity to earn a certificate or degree to improve their lives.

“We know there are gaps in our system,” he said. 

Landward also said one-third of high school seniors do not pursue higher education, and over half that do attend don’t receive degrees.

“We have to intervene,” he said.

According to Landward, anti-DEI measures are “untested” and USHE does not know the challenges that will present throughout its course. He asked the legislature for patience and cooperation as USHE navigates new policies. 

Sen. Kathleen Riebe (D-Salt Lake) expressed a lack of support for the bill and noted many aspects of the bill were “unclear.” 

Hall responded and said the bill was left open for institutions to determine which practices were best. 

At the Jan. 26 House floor debate, Rep. Angela Romero (D-Salt Lake) said the bill “take(s) away the identity” of a person.

Various community members in support of the bill included Rod Hall, a pastor from Layton. Hall said his parents did not teach him he was oppressed because of the color of his skin and does not believe people of color should be “catapulted to home base” based on the color of their skin.

Marci Campbell a teacher of 15 years, representing herself said “discrimination does not solve the problem of discrimination.”

Stacy Burnal, who is currently running a campaign for District 3 Senator, said DEI serves students like her son with autism.

“We don’t need to personally benefit from it for it to be a good thing for others,” she said. 

The bill is expected to be signed into law by Cox.


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About the Contributors
Libbey Hanson
Libbey Hanson, News Writer
(she/her) Libbey is a second-year graduate student in the MPA program studying public policy and administration. She is most interested in environmental policy and social justice issues. You can usually find her in the mountains hiking and skiing or reading and writing at a local coffee shop.
Marco Lozzi
Marco Lozzi, Photographer
Born in Texas and raised by Italian parents, Marco Lozzi grew up with two vastly different cultures. Now a sophomore at the U, he is majoring in communication with a journalism emphasis while also minoring in photography and Italian. He joined the Chrony to gain experience working as a photojournalist for a larger entity. When he's not taking or editing photos, he can be found hitting the slopes, napping, or making pasta.

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    John HedbergJan 28, 2024 at 3:34 pm

    I think the Prophets of Equity need to apologize for the harm they cause by teaching everyone that if you’re straight, you therefore hate people who are not, and if you’re pale, you therefore hate people who are not, and if you’re Christian, you therefore hate people who are not, and if you’re male, you therefore hate people who are not. This is actual hate-speech coming from the lying crowd who protests endlessly that hate is wrong, except that they are hate-targeting every person who might identify with these groups, which is itself the ground zero of bigotry.

    The ideal of civil/human rights is supposed to mean that everyone, no matter how they look or identify, is supposed to be lovable and accepted for being human, which is the real identity we all share equally, and so how you were born or what ideas you find beautiful at the moment have absolutely no bearing on your worth as a person or your value as a member of society. The Equity ‘constern-iks’ have not only failed us all in this mission, but they preach the opposite: anyone who doesn’t agree with Equity’s hatreds must therefore be an awful person; anyone who doesn’t agree with Equity’s picked preferences must also be atrocious. These hatreds and preferences have a name: prejudice.

    So, when the Equity yokels preach about diversity and inclusion, they only mean inclusion of diversity which agrees with their prejudices and feelings, and to heck with everyone else, no matter how they look or identify. That’s racism, misogyny/misandry, homo/hetero-phobia, religious bigotry, ethnic stereotyping, and transphobia all rolled together, because if any diverse person from any group has an opinion or experience that doesn’t agree with the hatreds or prejudices of the Equity Red Guard, those transgender people are dehumanized, those LGBTQ+ folks are dismissed and excluded, those BIPOC & intersectional persons are demeaned and defamed falsely as haters, and so all individuals no matter how they look or identify are called bigots just for being themselves, for having their own lived experience and their own opinions based on that experience, and for having compassion for any whom the Equity “screw-loose gurus” don’t have compassion for (the name Chloe Cole immediately comes to mind as someone whom they suppressed and dehumanized, but there are plenty of others).

    When is the Church of Equity going to apologize for perjuring, abusing, and harassing all the folks (on campus and off) who have zero problem with anyone else’s diversity, as long as we can get equal respect for our own individuality, people who just want to be ourselves and interact, to earn and learn alongside everyone else, but who don’t share the pet hatreds of the Equity defamers and pathological narcissists?

    Diversity, EQUALITY, and Inclusion, never Equity.

    Equity appears to believe that hatred against human groups or individuals is “kosher” as long as those hatreds conform to whatever “Equity” feels at the moment. For 75 years, Jewish people have been among the most solid on the side of civil and human rights, and yet Equity has decided to hate-label Jewish people as “genocidal” for no cause, except that they decided to defend themselves from atrocities committed against them by another group which “Equity” goofballs happen to favor this week.

    That’s all it takes: disagree with the Prophets of Equity about who deserves their equity (discrimination) the most, and suddenly you’re a racist even if you accept everyone and belong to a group that’s poly-racial, or you’re a colonist even if you’re defending your own ancestral lands against the people who dispossessed you. According to Equity’s priesthood, the best thing women and children and grandparents deserve for defending life and Love and heritage is to be swept out of existence “from the River to the Sea”, as if Auschwitz wasn’t bad enough for everyone to learn that hatred itself, against any people, is wrong: this is the line where human rights begin, but Equity’s hatred has no boundaries to keep human beings safe and whole, because to Equity, human worth isn’t sacred.

    Being treated with Equality is to treat every human being with Love as children in God’s eyes (By Whatever Name), all equally fallible and forgivable, equally beloved, the way a good parent Loves every child, which is how Dr. King preached the Gospel. Equity is nothing more than hatred looking for an excuse to vent itself, any excuse (clearly), but Equality is Loving everyone despite our inevitable errors and goofy imperfections, since children fall down constantly as we learn and grow into “a more perfect union” of habits, truths, attitudes, and culture which ever greater reflect the Love we receive as we mature, learn responsibilities which go along with this lived-Loved experience, and find common purpose in sharing the griefs as well as the joys of our transformative evolution in the way that God exemplifies it as a parent, through unfailing Love.

    We’re all fine, or we should be, by being and becoming exactly who we were created to be in this life. The Equity religion’s “clown car” owes us all an open apology for the endless empty fear, division, and hate-filled ugliness they rain on the rest of us, for all the needless hypocrisy and suffering they cause by their preferred discrimination and hatreds, and for never giving their “permission” for everyone to simply Love each person for who we are, which means their “church” would no longer have a reason for being. How sad! 😋

    How many of you out there are BIPOC but have at least one grandparent who’s some North or West European ethnicity? The reason the governor is discontinuing DEI is because during the pandemic, the CDC and Utah DEI-infected health authorities colluded to introduce a policy in which life-saving COVID therapeutics (like monoclonal antibodies and other life-saving treatments) were rationed according to how people looked or identified, just like the Nazi’s did 75 years ago, but this time, if you were pale-skinned, and not enough People Of Color (POC) were taking antibodies (for instance), the CDC and the State of Utah Equity “gurus” recommended denying lifesaving treatments to dying people with lethal co-morbidities if not enough People Of Color also happened to be dying at the same time.

    First of all, the Nuremburg Trials after World War 2 declared that denying or rationing medical treatment based on race or identity is a crime against humanity. Medical care should always go to whichever person needs it, and that’s how human beings prioritize.

    Second, the US was a lot paler 2 generations ago, and most of the people at risk of dying with COVID comorbidities were over the age of 65, so that means a higher percentage of pale people were at risk of dying from COVID. Therefore, if you ration monoclonal antibodies based on a person’s melanin content, a lot of those people most vulnerable to COVID death are left to die for no reason.

    Third, Utah doctors then attempted to ration life-saving medicines by racial appearance and tried to deny care, even though there was enough medicine on hand to help everyone who needed it, because a higher proportion of people with qualifying co-morbidities were pale than were in the general population, and they were being told by the Equity Priesthood to ration life-saving medicine according to strict demographic percentages: if you were pale and dying, even though there was no Person Of Color who needed the antibodies at the time, Utah medical doctors attempted to deny life-saving medicine to sick people who would most likely die without it.

    I personally know someone who identified to the doctors as pale, tested positive for COVID, took a medical survey of comorbidities that showed they were at the highest qualification level for monoclonal antibodies, but doctors still tried to deny this life-saving medicine when they saw how this person looked, even though nobody else needed the antibodies: they would have expired by themselves in 24 hours’ time, anyway~!

    So, I’m BIPOC (descended from immigrants of 3 Latino countries), but I have a Swedish grandparent, which is what makes family reunions so interesting in the US: I have siblings and cousins with light hair and dark hair, lighter skin and darker skin, lighter eyes and darker eyes, and just my family alone ties into at least 10 different ethnicities. I’m not unusual in this ‘Great American Melting Pot’: tens of millions of us are also multi-racial and/or poly-ethnic, and you can no longer tell anyone’s ancestry just by looking at them or by hearing their last name. After generations of intermarriage, that era is long gone.

    Quite a few Utahn BIPOC students have at least one pale grandparent whose life the CDC, and Utah Equity’s “Crime Against Humanity health experts”, decided wasn’t worth saving, not because there wasn’t enough medicine, but simply because they looked wrong in the eyes of racist Equity serial hypocrites who didn’t care if people died, as long as they could say with grand false virtue that they kept a certain ration of COVID medicine aside for POC, like the grandchildren of the people they were needlessly condemning to death (murdering) for no reason.

    Reference articles:
    1. “Utah Was Warned Racial Rationing of COVID Drugs Was Illegal. It Did It Anyway” by the Washington Free Beacon, 09 May 2022
    2. “Race-Based Rationing Is Real – And Dangerous” by The Atlantic, 30 January 2022

    Equity is a hate-religion, a church “of discrimination, by discrimination, and for discrimination” which constantly seeks to dehumanize, marginalize, and eliminate any group of human beings that happen to offend this Equity priesthood’s feelings at the moment, all while chanting and having continual meltdowns about how marginalizing and dehumanizing people by race, gender, or other identity is wrong… just not when they do it!! They just tried to murder Utahn grandparents because of their race. Who’s next on their Equity hit list, after they’re done plowing under the Jewish people “from the River to the Sea”? 🤪

    Kindly, with that Love we all share equally in God’s eyes (By Whichever Name)~