SALT LAKE CITY — As some Utah lawmakers mull legislation targeting diversity, equity and inclusion programs in the state’s public universities, another contingent is bracing for a battle to safeguard the initiatives, an increasing focus of debate across the nation.

Students from Utah Tech visit the Center for Inclusion and Belonging, St. George, Utah, unspecified date | Photo courtesy Utah Tech University, St. George News

“I feel Utah is trying to out-Florida Florida right now,” said Utah Sen. Kathleen Riebe, D-Cottonwood Heights, alluding to a measure signed into law last May in that state meant to dismantle diversity, equity and inclusion programs.

Though specific legislative proposals in Utah haven’t yet publicly emerged, she and Utah Rep. Angela Romero anticipate diversity, equity and inclusion programs will be a target of Republican lawmakers in the 2024 session. Given Gov. Spencer Cox’s critical statements last week aimed at diversity, equity and inclusion programs in Utah’s universities, Riebe said, “ow could they not be?”

Romero, D-Salt Lake City, called the remarks by Cox, a Republican “troubling.” She’ll speak out in defense of diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives if they face dismantling, as they have in other states, including Florida and Texas.

Read the full story here: KSL News.