In what is considered to be a pre-emptive move, the University of Arkansas told its staff in an email that the university will close its Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) office as of August 1, 2023.
The university is not under pressure by any existing or proposed law, but made the move anyway. But there is political pressure on the horizon: Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders, a Republican, signed a ban on teaching Critical Race Theory in K-12 schools this year and Arkansas state Senate proposed a bill that banned affirmative action (which bill failed to pass in the House of Representatives).
The former DEI employees can move to new positions within five departments: student success, student affairs, university advancement, human resources, or equal opportunity and compliance. The DEI office’s resources will be split between the five aforementioned departments.
It does not mean that DEI is gone for good, but it is an encouraging sign that universities understand that people are fed up with the anti-merit ideology of DEI offices and initiatives.