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Oklahoma Governor Signs Anti-IE&D Law, Compromising IE&D Efforts Statewide

Oklahoma Governor Signs Anti-IE&D Law, Compromising IE&D Efforts Statewide

Gov. Kevin Stitt signed an executive order on Dec. 13 that requires all state agencies and public colleges to report how much they spend on inclusion, equity and diversity (IE&D) programs. The order aims to provide "protections for Oklahomans and their tax dollars" against such programs.

"In Oklahoma, we're going to encourage equal opportunity, rather than promising equal outcomes," Stitt said in a statement. "Encouraging our workforce, economy, and education systems to flourish means shifting focus away from exclusivity and discrimination, and toward opportunity and merit. We're taking politics out of education and focusing on preparing students for the workforce."

The order asks for a review of IE&D positions, departments, activities, procedures and programs to "eliminate and dismiss non-critical personnel." At least one major higher education institution in Oklahoma plans to shut down its IE&D office entirely.

Other states, including Florida and AccountTexas, have enacted similar laws that restrict IE&D efforts after the U.S. Supreme Court banned affirmative action in higher education earlier this year.

SHRM Online has collected additional news on the topic.

Law Scrutinizes IE&D Programs in Higher Education

The order will require "state agencies and institutes of higher education to formally review the necessity and efficiency of DEI [diversity, equity and inclusion] positions, departments, activities, procedures and programs." The law comes as Republican officeholders in Oklahoma have stepped up attacks on IE&D programs in education in recent months.

(OU Daily)

The Order Also Guts IE&D Funding

The law prohibits mandating education, training or programs that grant preferences based on race, color, sex, ethnicity or national origin. It also requires all state institutions to not only review their IE&D spending but also to stop funding these programs and initiatives altogether.

(Tulsa World)

Oklahoma University Reacts to the Order

In a statement provided to FOX 25, Oklahoma University expressed it was "disappointed" by the executive order but added that it would stand by its mission of providing a place of belonging for all who attend.

(KOKH Fox 25)

IE&D Offices Already Preparing to Shut Down

Oklahoma University President Joseph Harroz, Jr. said the new order eliminates IE&D offices "at all public institutions in Oklahoma, including our own," according to an email message to staff and students leaked on X, formerly known as Twitter.

(X Platform, formerly known as Twitter)

Democratic Lawmakers Respond

Oklahoma Democratic lawmakers have responded to the governor's executive order. Sen. Mary Boren said the law will impact business expansion in Oklahoma. In a statement, she said, "Stitt's claim that 'Oklahoma is open for business' cannot be taken seriously by banning future business leaders from learning about diversity, equity, and inclusion on college campuses."



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