Update: Executive Order 13950

October 14, 2020

Thank you for your patience while our campus leadership continues to address the logistics of Executive Order 13950. It is critical that our campus community stay informed about the progress we are making, and provide guidance as we move forward.

First, we recognize that many members of campus continue to experience a profound degree of hurt, frustration, and anger following the announcement of the executive order on Sept. 22. We stand with you, and will work to ensure that our values remain unchanged, including but not limited to the importance of exchanging diverse ideas and concepts; embedding diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) into the core fabric of our institution; and providing a welcoming environment where perspectives can be shared without fear of retribution.

The DEI Training Review Committee has made tremendous progress over the past week. We are pleased to note the UI supervisor training is back online in Self Service. UI harassment prevention training will be online by the end of the week. In light of the order’s wording, the review committee has composed a disclaimer statement that can be used campus-wide before hosting a training. The university provides this training in support of its core values. No part of the training is intended to cause anyone discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress on account of their race, sex, or any other protected classification.

Also of importance to note is that the remainder of our ongoing DEI initiatives, as part of our DEI Action Plan, have been uninterrupted, including the following:

  • Building on existing campus events honoring nationally recognized observances to expand awareness of population-specific issues; support collaboration among staff, faculty, and student organizations; and showcase the celebrations as visual symbols of the UI’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • The Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion’s recent partnership with the Student Success Team to provide opportunities for faculty, staff, and student DEI leaders to come together and enhance their knowledge and skills, and strengthen strategic networks across campus.
  • Campus-wide implementation of the Path to Distinction faculty recruitment project to enhance the ability of faculty search committees to advance diversity and equity before, during, and after a search.
  • Re-establishing the Faculty Fellow for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion position within the Office of the Provost.
  • Partnership with the UI Center for Advancement to enhance DEI philanthropy efforts.

Absent further guidance from the White House, the U.S. Department of Labor, or appropriate legal authority, the DEI Training Review Committee has developed the following working definition of training for use in our institutional review process: A mandatory or voluntary instruction or lesson that presents policies, practices, or guidelines to which the attendees must adhere as part of their employment responsibilities.

If you would like your DEI training reviewed, please submit your materials to this link:  https://uiowa.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_8ldY8pvezEMIJk9

To learn more about the training review process, see below

The DEI Training Review Committee is evaluating trainings based on the following factors. We encourage colleges, units, and departments to consider these factors as they develop and/or host employee training sessions.

  • The intended audience: P&S staff, merit staff, faculty, postdoctoral researchers/scholars, medical residents/fellows, students, any community members. The focus of our executive order compliance efforts is on training for employees, not students.
  • Whether the training considered an academic course offered for credit for undergraduate or graduate students. The order applies to employment training, but notes that it does not prohibit discussing “as part of a larger course of academic instruction, the divisive concepts listed in [the order] of this order [see Exhibit A] in an objective manner and without endorsement.” It is unclear how this reference to academic instruction applies to the workplace as opposed to the classroom. The terms “objective manner” and “without endorsement” are not defined in the order.
  • Whether the training makes use of an educational library intended for professional development purposes (e.g., lecture series, LinkedIn Learning). We do not believe that university-sponsored or promoted events/resources that are voluntary, and intended for personal or professional development, are a part of the executive order. Additionally, conversations that may arise spontaneously and are not organized by the institution are not prohibited.
  • Whether the training is federally funded. The executive order prohibits certain concepts in training and related materials, when using federal funds.
  • Whether the training includes prohibited concepts as defined in the executive order.

PROHIBITED CONCEPTS UNDER EXECTUIVE ORDER 13950

“Race or sex stereotyping”

‘‘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 his or her race or sex.

“Race or sex scapegoating”

‘‘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. It similarly encompasses any claim that, consciously or unconsciously, and by virtue of his or her 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.

“Divisive concepts”

(a) One race or sex is inherently superior to another race or sex;

(b) An individual, by virtue of their race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously;

(c) An individual should be discriminated against or receive adverse treatment solely or partly because of their race or sex;

(d) Members of one race or sex cannot and should not attempt to treat others without respect to race or sex;

(e) An individual’s moral character is necessarily determined by their race or sex;

(f) An individual, by virtue of their race or sex, bears responsibility for actions committed in the past by other members of the same race or sex;

(g) Any individual should feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress on account of their race or sex; or

(h) Meritocracy or traits such as a hard work ethic are racist or sexist, or were created by a particular race to oppress another race.

 Updated October 14, 2020