JSU declares adherence to Alabama law prohibiting state-funded diversity, equity, and inclusion programs – Yellowhammer News

Jacksonville State University has become the inaugural public college in Alabama to declare its adherence to a recently enacted law. The law, which was passed by the Alabama Legislature and sanctioned by Governor Kay Ivey in March, prohibits the use of state funds for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) offices and initiatives.

Jacksonville State University President Don Killingsworth Jr. announced that the Office of Diversity and Inclusion will be officially closed, effective May 31.

In his message to students, faculty, and staff, Killingsworth emphasized that the decision to comply with the new law was not taken lightly but deemed necessary.

Ivey signs ban on teaching, promoting ‘divisive concepts’ in schools, state agencies

“All employees currently working in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion have been provided with and have accepted positions in other departments on campus,” he declared. “The closure of the office prior to the October 1 deadline, as required by the state, is to allow these employees ample time to transition to their new roles before the busy fall semester commences.”

“We are dedicated to creating a warm and inclusive atmosphere for everyone in the Jax State community as we navigate through this period of change.”

The Alabama Legislature successfully passed a new law this year, receiving unanimous support from Republicans in both chambers. State Sen. Will Barfoot (R-Pike Road) and State Rep. Ed Oliver (R-Dadeville) sponsored the law, which was ultimately signed by Governor Ivey at the end of March.

Starting from October 1, 2024, the newly implemented law enforces a series of prohibitions. These include the restriction on the use of taxpayer funds by state agencies, public schools, and state colleges and universities for DEI offices or initiatives. Moreover, state institutions are now prohibited from coercing students or employees to affirm, adopt, or adhere to any of the nine divisive concepts specified within the legislation.

UA System and the Presidents have issued an update on the implementation of Alabama DEI reform.

The law clearly states that students, faculty, organizations, or associations can still host DEI programs or discussions involving divisive concepts, as long as no state funds are utilized.

In a move that mirrors actions taken by other states, Florida has made headlines by eliminating its office of diversity at the University of Florida, the state’s largest public college. As part of this decision, the university has redirected a $5 million earmark designated for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives to a retirement fund for faculty members. This decision reflects a growing trend among institutions to reevaluate their approach to DEI efforts and allocate resources in different ways.

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