Statement

As you may know, the Iowa General Assembly is considering House File (HF) 802 which, if it becomes law, would prohibit divisive topics from mandatory employee training. We know there have been many questions from students, faculty, and staff regarding how this could impact our training and the ability to discuss diversity, equity, and inclusion topics in our classrooms. So, we wanted to provide information about how the proposed legislation would impact DEI training at the University of Iowa.

Passage of HF 802 will not stop or pause training on our campus.

One concern we have heard is about the future of the UI’s implicit bias training. Our implicit bias training would not be considered a divisive concept because it does not “teach, advocate, act upon or promote" that an individual is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive due to their race or sex.

Another concern expressed is how would HF 802 impact the classroom. If passed, HF 802 would have zero impact within the classroom as academic instruction is specifically exempted from the legislation.

Finally, we know there have been concerns regarding our voluntary training - these trainings will continue and will not be paused.

Over the last three years, we have held over 500 training sessions and workshops positively impacting nearly 15,000 students, faculty, and staff. The popular and successful UI BUILD program voluntarily educates approximately 1,000 individuals a year. All of our DEI programs, training, and workshops will continue to be available to UI students, faculty, and staff.  

If you have questions, please reach out to the Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion so we can help ensure the training content used by our colleges and departments meets these standards. I encourage you, your college, or your department to email our diversity resources group to schedule a time to review your training.  

In our classrooms, conversations on divisive topics can and will continue because freedom of speech is protected within our constitution. These training tools and ongoing conversations are necessary to help us expand our community, collaborate, and treat each other with respect.

If you have additional questions, please see the information below or reach out to us as we move forward.

 

Dr. Liz Tovar
Executive Officer and Associate Vice President
Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
elizabeth-tovar@uiowa.edu

Peter Matthes
Vice President for External Relations and Senior Advisor to the President
peter-matthes@uiowa.edu

FAQ

No. The UI may still provide mandatory diversity training but that training may not include “divisive concepts” as outlined in the legislation.

No. The UI will not stop or pause any of its trainings because the UI’s mandatory trainings do not include “divisive concepts” as defined in HF 802.

No. The UI’s BUILD program is voluntary and H.F. 802 only impacts mandatory training.

No. H.F. 802 only applies to mandatory trainings and discussion of divisive topics in the classroom is specifically exempted from the legislation.

No. H.F. 802 would not classify the UI’s unconscious bias training as a divisive concept because the UI’s training does not “teach, advocate, act upon, or promote” that an individual is inherently rascist, sexist, or oppressive due to their race or sex.

Your department/college should work with the UI’s Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in advance of your training for the best guidance regarding content and presentation of the training materials.

No. H.F. 802 does not provide guidance on who should monitor mandatory trainings and it does not provide for any penalties.

You may report your concern to the UI’s Ombuds Office or the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity (EOD). In addition, students may report a concern to the Dean of Students; employees including faculty may report to their supervisor or HR office, and faculty also may report to their collegiate deans.

Bill Reviewe

  • That one race or sex is inherently superior to another race or sex.
  • That the United States or Iowa are fundamentally or systemically racist or sexist.
  • That an individual by virtue of the individual’s race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously.
  • That an individual should be discriminated against or receive adverse treatment solely or partly because of the individual’s race or sex.
  • That members of one race or sex cannot and should not attempt to treat others without respect to race or sex.
  • That an individual’s moral character is necessarily determined by the individual’s race or sex.
  • That an individual, by virtue of the individual’s race or sex, bears responsibility for actions committed in the past by other members of the same race or sex.
  • That any individual should feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress on account of that individual’s race or sex.
  • That meritocracy or traits such as a hard work ethic are racist or sexist, or were created by a particular race to oppress another race.
  • Any other form of race or sex scapegoating or any other form of race or sex stereotyping:
    • “Race or sex scapegoating” means assigning fault, blame, or bias to a race or sex, or to members of a race or sex because of their race or sex, or claiming that, consciously or unconsciously, and by virtue of persons’ race or sex, members of any race are inherently racist or are inherently inclined to oppress others, or that members of a sex are inherently sexist or inclined to oppress others.
    • “Race or sex stereotyping” means ascribing character traits, values, moral and ethical codes, privileges, status, or beliefs to a race or sex, or to an individual because of the individual’s race or sex.

  • Inhibit the First Amendment rights of students or faculty, or undermine a public institution of higher education’s duty to protect to the fullest degree intellectual freedom and free expression.
  • Prohibit discussing divisive concepts as part of a larger course of academic instruction.
  • Prohibit training that fosters a work place and learning environment that is respectful of all employees and students.
  • Prevent an employee or contractor, who provides mandatory training, from responding to questions regarding divisive concepts raised by participants in the training.
  • Prevent a public institution of higher education from promoting racial, cultural, ethnic, intellectual, or academic diversity or inclusiveness, as long as divisive topics are not a part of the training.
  • Prohibit unconsious bias training as long as the training does not teach that an individual or group is racist/sexist/oppressive because of their race or gender.

  • That institutional diversity and inclusion efforts shall discourage students of a public institution of higher education from discriminating against another by color, race, ethnicity, sex, gender, political ideology, or any other characteristic protected under the federal Civil Rights Act and applicabale state law.
  • That each public institution of higher education shall prohibit its employees from discriminating against students or employees by color, race, ethnicity, sex, gender, political ideology, or any other characteristic protected under the federal Civil Rights Act and applicable state law.
  • That the intellectual vitality of students and faculty shall not be infringed upon.