Friday 29 March 2024

South Carolina House Passes Bill To Keep Universities From Hiring Based On DEI Principles

 The South Carolina House of Representatives passed a bill on Wednesday that would prohibit public universities from making hiring or promotion decisions based on diversity, equity, and inclusion principles or political ideology.

The bill, which passed 84-30 with opposition from Democrats and support from Republicans, also protects the free speech of both students and staff at public universities and requires universities to report on how much money they spend on DEI initiatives. Conservative members of the South Carolina legislature have previously pushed to strip all DEI-related funding from public universities. 

“In a decisive move, SC House Republicans have passed H.4289, signaling a clear stance against DEI ideology influencing college admissions and employment decisions,” the South Carolina House Republican Caucus said in a statement. “This landmark legislation ensures no diversity pledges can dictate admissions or job outcomes, halts mandatory diversity training, and upholds the unassailable right to free speech. It’s a bold affirmation of our commitment to equality and academic freedom, safeguarding our institutions against bias and promoting fairness in line with federal laws and standards.”

“A public institution of higher learning shall not infringe on a student, faculty member, or employee’s First Amendment right to free speech,” the bill says. “A public institution of higher learning shall not discriminate on the basis of viewpoint discrimination.”


During debate on the measure, state Republican Rep. Adam Morgan said that taxpayer money should not be used to push a politicized worldview on students. 

“We’re asking a question of what our tax dollars should be spent on, because what we spend our money on reflects our values,” he said.

South Carolina House Democrats claimed the bill is part of a push toward a “far right effort to make our college campuses less diverse, less equitable, and less inclusive.”

The measure now heads to the Senate for consideration where Republicans hold 30 seats and Democrats have 15. 

Other states, like Florida and Alabama, have passed more wide-ranging measures cracking down on DEI. Last week, Republican Alabama Governor Kay Ivey signed a law that bans state funding of DEI programs at state agencies and public universities.

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