Background: Senate Bill 129 prevents state agencies, local boards of education, and institutions of higher education from sponsoring diversity, equity, inclusion (DEI) programs or offices. The bill prevents staff, student, and faculty organizations from hosting DEI events and prohibits the teaching of “divisive concepts,” a term defined in the legislation under a wide-ranging and vague criterion. The bill states that no state agency, local board of education, or institution of higher education may compel students, employees, or contractors to affirm these concepts, including training, orientations, or coursework that “advocates, acts upon, or promote divisive concepts.” It also states that employees found in violation of this legislation can be disciplined or terminated. 

Our Position: We oppose Senate Bill 129. This bill is intended to have a chilling effect on discourse regarding race, class, sexuality, and national origin, and seeks to characterize these discussions and accurate teachings, assignments, and trainings that also supplement them as “divisive.” SB129 disrupts the work of student, staff, and faculty organizations at higher education institutions that rely on public funding from their university to develop DEI or culturally based programming. This is not only a form of classroom censorship, it’s an anti-truth bill which curtails an education on systemic inequities, racial violence, and the historic efforts to gain civil rights and civil liberties for marginalized communities throughout our nation’s history. The First Amendment protects the right to share ideas, including the right of listeners to receive information and knowledge. We must protect this right, including educators and students’ rights to talk and learn about race and gender in schools. 


Sen. Barfoot





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