Aug 30, 2022 - News

BYU leader rejected "the world's" diversity training

Signs read "Brigham Young University" and "The world is our campus."
Students walk past the entrance of Brigham Young University in Provo. Photo: George Frey/Getty Images

Not long before a BYU fan shouted racist slurs at Duke volleyball players who are Black, the Church's education commissioner said it should not "[mimic] the world" with its approach to diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives.

Catch up quick: BYU has faced a firestorm of criticism since Rachael Richardson said she and her Black teammates were targeted with slurs and threats at a Friday game in Provo.

The big picture: BIPOC students encountered "inadequate accountability and coordination" in BYU's attempts to address racism, according to a far-reaching 2021 report.

  • The report stressed the need for "extensive diversity and inclusion training programs" for students and employees.
  • BYU last fall launched its "Office of Belonging" to help root out racism and prejudice at the school.

Yes, but: Clark Gilbert, the commissioner of education for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said this month during BYU Education Week: "The DEI programs in the world are not the way BYU should do it."

  • He argued that BYU should "find a gospel-centered approach" to "be a light to the world but not replicating the world."

Between the lines: Gilbert's remarks suggest BYU has not finalized or implemented its diversity training plans.

  • Neither BYU nor the Church has responded to Axios' request for details about DEI training introduced since the 2021 report.

Of note: Richardson credited her team's own DEI training program for helping her to endure Friday's game.

  • "This helped to equip us to deal with the situation in a mature manner rather than to react in a retaliatory manner," she wrote.
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