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Pres Stanley: MSU May Stand 'Firmly Against' Executive Order Curbing Diversity and Race Training

Contributor: Anthony Barash

Michigan State University President Samuel Stanley indicates MSU may stand ‘firmly against’ the new executive order targeting diversity and race training.

In a campus wide email, President Stanley says the “spirit and intent” of the Executive Order on Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping (EO 13950) are concerning. The order signed by President Donald Trump provides new guidelines for publicly funded universities, federal agencies, and federal contractors on workplace diversity training involving critical race theory.

Signed on September 22, a new policy to “not to promote race or sex stereotyping or scapegoating in the Federal workforce or in the Uniformed Services, and not to allow grant funds to be used for these purposes” is enacted. Additionally, “Federal contractors will not be permitted to inculcate such views in their employees.”

President Stanley reassured in the email the newly mandated diversity training for all students will start ‘this month.’ The required training comes “after alleged racist comments made at a Q&A panel with the President in February, a display of African American and white figurines being hung from a tree, and an alleged toilet paper noose hung in a dormitory last fall,” The Morning Watch reported in April 2020.

[RELATED STORY: MSU Student Workers Told to not use Gender Specific “Triggers” in Mandated Training]

Chart shown at MSU student worker training, August 2019

“If the executive order is an attempt to stifle or suppress fact-based conversations about race, sex and inclusion, we stand firmly against that premise,” the president’s email stated. “We remain committed to...a campus where all can pursue success unhindered by fear, hate or ignorance of others.”

In addition to mandating their own members to diversity training, the student government, the Associated Students of MSU (ASMSU), has pushed for the mandate to all students. Passing in December 2019, ASMSU Bill 56-31 works to “implement a mandatory, comprehensive, annual training on equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) for all faculty, staff and students.”

During the assembly meeting, student representatives called out students from “middle-of-nowhere” areas, “homogeneous towns,” and “rural area[s] where you only saw people who look just like you” who “need help.”

Executive Order 13950 was first alluded to by Office of Management and Budget Director Russ Vought in a September 4 memorandum, which directed federal agencies to stop using taxpayer dollars to fund “divisive, un-American propaganda training sessions.”

[RELATED STORY: Mandatory Diversity Training Continuing, Despite Pandemic]

The memorandum stated, “all agencies are directed to begin to identify all contracts or other agency spending related to any training on "critical race theory”, "white privilege," or any other training or propaganda effort that teaches or suggests either (1) that the United States is an inherently racist or evil country or (2) that any race or ethnicity is inherently racist or evil. In addition, all agencies should begin to identify all available avenues within the law to cancel any such contracts and/or to divert Federal dollars away.”

Possible consequences for the continuation of diversity, equity, and inclusion education in violation of the order may include limiting of federal funds to MSU by freezing future loans, grants, and removing students' ability to qualify for federally backed financial aid.

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