Executive Order on Diversity Training and Promotion of “Divisive Concepts” – Implications for Universities

(Excerpts from a WilerHaler Law Firm Article)

    • On September 22, 2020, President Trump issued a new executive order intended “to combat offensive and anti-American race and sex stereotyping.” The order aims to shape how diversity training is conducted not only within the government, but also by federal contractors and recipients of federal grants.
    • The order’s requirements for government contracts affect only new contracts entered into 60 days from the date of the order, and the grant-based restrictions will not take effect until agencies have had time to review affected programs and determine whether the restrictions should be made a condition of federal grants.
    • Universities that enter into new federal contracts (or renew contracts) must be cognizant of the contents of workplace diversity training provided to university employees, including both faculty and staff. If workplace training from covered universities is deemed to be “divisive,” those universities may have their contracts terminated and may be deemed ineligible for future contracts. Universities should therefore consider reviewing and/or collecting information about the content of diversity and inclusion training for their employees so they are fully cognizant of their current practices.