SADOW: Landry And The Louisiana Legislature Can’t Let Up On Scrubbing DEI

Advice to Republican Gov. Jeff Landry and the Louisiana Legislature when it comes to the state’s higher education institutions concerning the anti-Semitic Trojan Horse of diversity, equity, and inclusion policy and personnel: don’t trust them but make them earn your trust through well-designed legislation.

While DEI could be as innocuous and benign as ensuring laws are followed against well-defined discriminatory practices, in practice in academia it has become an insidious worldview that alleges people not of color who allegedly control government, business, and societal institutions use that power, whether consciously, allegedly to oppress all others through any practice, whether in law, that in terms of outcomes in the distribution of resources, whether tangible or monetary, generally leaves all others with relatively fewer that for redress demands policies to redistribute those resources to those others. Increasingly it has come under scrutiny for its demonizing of whites as oppressors by inclination solely by their racial identification, its efforts to grant preferential treatment to non-whites, and its propagation as foundational in educating across all disciplines starting from the moment a child begins schooling.

Landry and a number of legislators ran against allowing DEI as a worldview to infect educational institutions, and a number of returning legislators had backed, some publicly, a measure last year that would have made higher education institutions report spending on DEI that unfortunately didn’t pass. Their concerns are part of a larger trend among the states that have passed legislation to curtail DEI ideology’s propagation on campuses in their classrooms and administrations.

That has gotten the attention of state university and colleges. Last spring, I reviewed all of the state’s campuses for DEI infrastructure and noted that among senior institutions, with notable exceptions, all had at least one administrator with duties identified with DEI and several had an administrative structure specifically designated for DEI with multiple personnel. Some went further, with individual college employees, whether faculty, having such duties. The one exception was the least diverse set of institutions, historically black universities and colleges.

Louisiana State University had the most extensive apparatus, with dedicated associate deans in colleges to the task. But perhaps no more, reports the pro-DEI leftist media outlet Louisiana Illuminator, which notes that Pres. William Tate IV recently had renamed bureaucracies to remove words associated with diversity, equity, and inclusion, explaining last year that language would be changed but would not interfere with principles and couched in what was “legally defensible.” Nor do colleges there appear any more to list associate deans with having related DEI responsibilities, and other DEI-related materials on its website have disappeared.

A similar, perhaps diluted, dynamic is playing out at other University of Louisiana System schools. Looking at the largest, my alma mater the University of New Orleans doesn’t even list, with one exception, anything to do with DEI, the exception being an employee award where DEI is a criterion for its awarding. It’s harder to scrub its past news feed, however, which at one time trumpets winning a $1.2 million grant to create a “center for equity and diversity” in the hard science of engineering, where you figure critical thinking and mathematics mostly would matter. But almost 18 months later, the website makes no indication that the center exists. At Louisiana Tech University, its college of business has put on five DEI in the Workplace forums although it’s not indicated whether there will be one in 2024 as of this writing, but doesn’t offer much else other than its Multicultural Affairs office.

It seems the University of Louisiana Lafayette was in the running to compete with LSU as the most DEI-oriented campus in the state, having an Office for Campus Diversity with several employees located in the office of its president that had a plan from 2019-22 to move the campus towards greater facility to DEI that asked, among others thing, to “Review, assess and develop internal policies and procedures throughout the University’s operations that support diversity, equity and inclusion” that may have led to a ratings instrument of employees attempting to measure their fidelity to DEI, as well as featured an attempt to construct “Principles of Community.” However, activity seems to have dropped off in the past year, its website indicates.

Don’t be fooled. By its nature, academia is full of behind-the-scenes jockeying and is well- versed in presenting a public face that resembles one side of Janus. DEI has infiltrated academia extensively, and many in academia, especially at the administrative level, flatter themselves as a kind of resistance to whatever powers-that-be they may imagine to keep on with furtive missions out of public view that validate their worldviews. If they are pulling back because they see Landry and a legislative majority in opposition to their agenda, the pullback is strategic and, in their minds, temporary but doesn’t stop attempts to advance the agenda from continuing in the shadows and in less obtrusive ways.


To prevent this subversion, DEI has to be pulled out by its roots in Louisiana. Model legislation in Texas and Florida, among other states, provide the means to best accomplish this. These, among other things, prohibit public universities from creating diversity offices, hiring employees to conduct DEI work, requiring any related DEI training, or asking for diversity statements from students and employees – which can weigh the required confessionals equally with measurements of merit for hiring and retention that half of all institutions nationally already use. Also, legislation should ban public universities from spending state or federal funds for DEI programs and activities that support or engage in political or social activism unless required by an outside accrediting body.

DEI cloaked in instruction is trickier to handle. Even as the assumptions behind DEI are neo-racist wolves posing as anti-racist sheep, students benefit from understanding the flaws behind those which requires exposure to the tenets of DEI even if they comprise a thinly-veiled hate speech. Abuse of students by ascribing to them unsavory characteristics merely because of their race, sex, disability status, or religious background (or lack thereof) doesn’t serve a legitimate instructional purpose in and of itself.

Legislation could address this not by banning all discussion of DEI-based worldviews in the classroom, but by mandating that any worldview taught that denigrates groups of people defined by protected classes under civil rights law – such as DEI’s arguing that white people by virtue of being genetically white naturally oppress non-whites in allegedly how government, business, and society are structured that only can be overcome through DEI reprogramming – must also be critiqued honestly in the presentation of material, with a statement required in course syllabi informing students of this. More and more robust explicatory material is what sets the stage for sharpening critical thinking ability among students.

As Landry noted in his inaugural speech, genuine learning rather than indoctrination should guide education in Louisiana, and he and legislators should make it a priority to pass legislation guaranteeing this regardless of what words higher education institutions use to clarify or obscure their preferences and agendas.



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