University of Utah Showcases Positive Impacts of Diversity

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University of Utah Health Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion (UHEDI)

University of Utah is showcasing the value of academic diversity after the state’s passing of HB 261, which “prohibits an institution of higher education from establishing or maintaining an office… [that] is referred to or named diversity, equity, and inclusion.”

On Monday, the institution released a scorecard that highlights the positive impacts of campus equity initiatives since their establishment in 2019. Among the data reported are healthier first-year GPAs, higher student retention, and higher average graduation rates.

The scorecard comes in light of University President Taylor Randall’s statement on HB 261 that a “deep assessment” of university policies and processes would be conducted “as part of the work to understand the new law.”

Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) programming at University of Utah includes the American Indian Resource Center, the Black Cultural Center, the Dream Center, and the Center for Equity & Student Belonging. These campus organizations, among other EDI divisions, provided the data from which these conclusions were drawn.

The scorecard notes that, “Across EDI’s resource and cultural centers… university students have the opportunity to participate in a variety of programs, curriculum, networking and mentoring activities that strengthen their performance, bolster their sense of belonging and supercharge their post-graduation success.”

Diversity programming, aimed at supporting students from traditionally marginalized backgrounds, will be primarily affected by the changes enacted by the legislation. President Randall states that “the state’s flagship institution of higher education” will “follow state law” and “will work with Utah Systems of Higher Education leaders and our peers at other state colleges and universities, moving forward together to implement the requirements” of the new law. 

HB 261 goes into effect in Utah July 1, 2024.