Legislative Attacks Slink up the East Coast

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South Carolina (SC) is the most recent state to enact Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)-related bans on college campuses, as SC House legislators voted 84-30 on Wednesday to limit diversity efforts at the state’s public colleges and universities. 

The bill, H4289, forbids diversity statements in hiring and admissions practices, bans mandatory DEI training, and requires institutions to submit annual reports detailing the operating costs, number of employees, and resolutions of DEI programming and offices. 

Supporters say that the bill ensures meritocracy and equal treatment for all students, codifying free speech to prevent “viewpoint discrimination.”  

Rep. Tim McGinnis (R) is the lead sponsor of the bill. “What we’re trying to stop is preferential treatment based on group identity,” McGinnis said. “We’re trying to make sure that the playing field stays level.” 

Others are not so sure the playing field is level to remain level. Refuting these arguments of preferential treatment, many faculty, administrators, and other opponents of the bill allege that it creates a problem where one does not currently exist. 

“DEI is not about giving handouts or taking away from deserving individuals,” said Rep. Rosalyn Henderson-Myers (D) in a press conference on Thursday, “it’s about leveling that playing field, providing necessary resources, and acknowledging the historical inequalities that continue to shape our society today.” 

House democrats present for the vote — who unanimously voted “No” — said that no Black representatives were consulted in the creation of the legislation. 

The bill passed the house on Thursday and moves to the senate for further deliberation.