Friday, September 25, 2020
The University of Iowa Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

On September 22, 2020, an Executive Order 13950 was issued that impacts the University of Iowa’s operations. This Executive Order bars certain topics from diversity and inclusion training provided by federal contractors and federal grantees. The order prohibits many federal contractors from holding “workplace training that inculcates in its employees any form of race or sex stereotyping or any form of race or sex scapegoating.” The executive order defines “race or sex stereotyping” and “race or sex scapegoating” broadly, along with providing an illustrative list of prohibited topics.


Since the Executive Order was issued, our institution has evaluated its impact on our institution and has begun a preliminary evaluation of institution-based trainings connected to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Let us state unequivocally that diversity, equity, and inclusion remain as core values within our institution. However, after consulting with multiple entities, and given the seriousness of the penalties for non-compliance with the order, which include the loss of federal funding, we are recommending that all units temporarily pause for a two-week period to evaluate any trainings, workshops, or programs that may include language or materials that could be deemed in violation of the Executive Order.


This pause includes but may not be limited to, the following:

  • Harassment and discrimination training for university employees provided by the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity and/or its external vendor;
  • Select trainings from the Diversity Resources unit, including but not limited to the BUILD Certificate Program, Virtual Discussions, and departmental requests;
  • Path to Distinction search committee training through the Office of the Provost, and Supervisor Training modules through Human Resources;
  • Trainings, workshops, or programs for UI employees that describe race or sex stereotyping and race or sex scapegoating; and
  • Diversity, equity, and inclusion trainings for UI employees that include concepts defined as divisive by the Executive Order.  


The plan is to continue this evaluation process across our university, assess risk, and provide guidance to units. We have established a committee that will be responsible for vetting all trainings, workshops, or programs. This Training Review Committee includes representatives from the Office of General Counsel; the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion; Human Resources; Purchasing; and UI Health Care. The following people are on this committee:

Ellen Chambers, University of Iowa Health Care
Renee Funk, Purchasing
Teresa Kulper, Human Resources
Maria Lukas, General Counsel
Bria Marcelo, Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Denise Martinez, University of Iowa Health Care
Jennifer Modestou, Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Liz Tovar, Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Jan Waterhouse, Human Resources
Tab Wiggins, Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

We ask that UI faculty and staff members who believe they or their units provide diversity, equity, and inclusion training that could potentially be deemed in violation of the Executive Order submit their training content, including associated materials prior to hosting the training, workshop, or program.


Vetting Process

  • Content materials should be submitted to the Training Review Committee using the following link: (please include notes or talking points that might be used in conjunction with or to supplement to the course material)
  • Factors involved in the evaluation process include:
    • Risk assessment based on the criteria outlined in the Executive Order
    • Funding or sponsorship source
    • Mandatory or optional nature of the training, workshop, or program
    • Content and language as compared to the Executive Order
  • Following review, recommendations will be made to the requester from these options: 
    • Other appropriate mitigation options
    • Guidance or education provided to the trainer 
    • Revision of content
    • Training elimination


In an effort to be informed and prepared to address this Executive Order, we recognize you will have more questions/need more information. We will do our best to keep you updated as we navigate this complex moment. Again, please know we maintain our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion as a core value within our institution.  

On behalf of the Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; Office of the Provost; Office of the General Counsel; and University Human Resources,

Liz Tovar, Ph.D.
Interim Associate Vice President Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion