A Group of Professors in California Sue State Over Diversity Mandate
A group of six passionate community college professors in California are taking a stand against the state’s requirements to include diversity, equity, and inclusion elements in their courses. They believe that these mandates infringe upon their First Amendment rights and have decided to fight back.
“These regulations are a totalitarian triple-whammy,” expressed FIRE attorney Daniel Ortner. “The government is forcing professors to teach and preach a politicized viewpoint they do not share, imposing incomprehensible guidelines, and threatening to punish professors when they cross an arbitrary, indiscernible line.”
The Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression has filed a lawsuit on behalf of these professors from three community colleges in Fresno County. The colleges represented in the lawsuit include four professors from Madera Community College, one from Reedley College, and one from Clovis Community College.
New Mandates and Their Impact
The new requirements demand that professors “promote and incorporate culturally affirming DEIA and anti-racist principles to nurture and create a respectful, inclusive, and equitable learning and work environment.” Additionally, professors are instructed to “respect and acknowledge the diversity of students and colleagues.”
However, these guidelines go beyond mere suggestions. Even using the term “I grade my class based on merit” is deemed unacceptable, as it is considered to be “embedded in the ideology of Whiteness and upholds race-based structural inequality,” according to a glossary of terms. The plaintiffs argue that these mandates infringe upon their academic freedom, as they are being evaluated based on their inclusion of diversity and inclusion concepts in their classrooms.
The professors feel that they are being forced to incorporate elements that are not relevant to their respective fields. For instance, Reedley College professor Bill Blanken, who teaches chemistry, questions how he is expected to incorporate DEI into his classroom instruction. He humorously asks, “What’s the ‘anti-racist’ perspective on the atomic mass of boron?”
The lawsuit specifically targets State Chancellor of California Community Colleges Sonya Christian, the members of the board of governors of the California Community Colleges, Chancellor of State Center Community College District Carole Goldsmith, and the board of trustees of the State Center Community College District.
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