Feb 1, 2024 - News

Utah governor celebrates Black History Month two days after banning DEI programs

Utah Gov. Spencer Cox with a black background

Gov. Spencer Cox. Image via Utah Governor's Office

Utah Gov. Spencer Cox came under fire Thursday for posting celebrations of Black History Month on social media two days after he signed a ban on DEI programs.

What they're saying:

Details: Cox on Tuesday signed a bill that dismantles diversity, equity and inclusion programs at public colleges and government agencies.

  • H.B. 261 turns higher ed DEI programs into "student success" offices that include and support "all students."
  • It also prohibits DEI workshops for students and government employees.

Zoom in: Critics were especially incensed by Cox's statement that "[w]e … remain committed to improving access to opportunity."

  • "'Improving access to opportunity' … he says right after signing the anti-DEI bill. 🙄," Instagrammer Julie Braam posted Thursday.

Context: DEI programs in higher ed are designed to close college attainment gaps among historically underrepresented groups, including people of color, LGBTQ+ students, people with disabilities and veterans.

Flashback: About a month ago, Cox described DEI hiring practices as "bordering on evil."

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