ASU Unlawfully Forces DEI Training On Staff

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ASU Unlawfully Forces DEI Training On Staff

Arizona State University (ASU) faces legal action as professors Owen Anderson and D. Ladd Gustafson allege the university is unlawfully enforcing diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) training on its staff, labelling white individuals as “inherently racist.” Anderson and Gustafson filed a state court suit against the Arizona Board of Regents, asserting that while ASU can present DEI ideas, it cannot compel employees to adopt them.

Questioning Mandates

“I shouldn’t be coerced into affirming ideas I disagree with as a condition of employment,” Anderson stated, decrying the training as veiled racism. The suit claims that Anderson, a veteran professor of religion and philosophy at ASU, and Gustafson, a taxpayer, are burdened with replenishing public funds used for what they deem unlawful government expenditures, including financing ASU.

ASU Unlawfully Forces DEI Training On Staff : Compulsory Curriculum

Anderson recounted being mandated to undergo ASU’s “inclusive communities” training since October 2022, required to pass quizzes and retake the training biennially. Non-compliance or failing the quiz could result in disciplinary measures, he alleged, with the training covering topics such as the history of white supremacy and white privilege in the U.S., as well as manifestations of racism.

Free Speech Dilemma

Citing violations of his free speech rights under the Arizona Constitution, Anderson argued against being compelled to endorse beliefs contrary to his own. The suit points to Arizona law, prohibiting entities like ASU from enforcing training that promotes blame or judgment based on race, ethnicity, or sex.

ASU Unlawfully Forces DEI Training On Staff : Legal Action

Anderson and Gustafson’s suit seeks an injunction to prevent ASU from utilizing public funds for DEI training and from mandating staff participation. Stacy Skankey, their legal representative, condemned ASU’s imposition, stating it violates constitutional free speech protections. Representatives for ASU and the Arizona Board of Regents did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Defense and Future Proceedings

ASU is represented by Stacy Skankey and Parker Jackson of the Scharf-Norton Center for Constitutional Litigation at the Goldwater Institute. Counsel information for the Arizona Board of Regents was not readily available.