Federal judge rules to suspend California Community Colleges' DEI rules

Editor's Note: For clarification, Professor Johnson is represented in his case by the Institute for Free Speech. A separate entity was mentioned below but that is as a part of a separate case.

SACRAMENTO, CA - On Tuesday, November 14th, a federal judge suspended the enforcement of rules instituted by the California Community College system that are aimed at ensuring faculty and staff uphold diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) values. 

According to the Daily Caller, in May a memo from the California Community College leaders stated that the "DEI rules evaluated in employees had demonstrated, or progress toward, proficiency in diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility." 

U.S. Magistrate Judge Christopher D. Baker of the Eastern District of California suspended the enforcement of the DEI rules, saying that they might be "contrary" to the First Amendment. 

Inside Higher Ed stated that the injunction was in response to a lawsuit against Bakersfield College and Kern Community College District leaders filed by Daymon Johnson. The lawsuit takes aim at the DEI rules instituted by the state's community college system. 

Johnson, a Bakersfield College history professor, says that the rules infringe on his and his colleagues First Amendment rights, requiring them to incorporate ideologies that they don't support in their work or risk losing their jobs. District and system leaders disagree, saying that the regulations don't "curtail professors' free speech," adding that the rules are "valid expressions of the system's values" as it looks to better serve a diverse student body.

The injunction reads, in part, "Although defendants' aim of promoting diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility in California's system of community colleges undoubtedly is important and defendants are entitled to encourage their employees to embrace these tenets, plaintiff has shown a likelihood of success on the merits that the regulatory scheme defendants have put in place to advance these interests is contrary to the First Amendment's guarantee of freedom of speech in the academic arena."

Johnson's lawsuit, which was filed back in June, alleges that his colleague, Matthew Garrett, had been terminated for expressing his political beliefs. The lawsuit alleged that he and other professors had been penalized for their conservative views and that they were discouraged from exercising their free speech rights.

The lawsuit said that the rules were unconstitutional and called for them to be suspended. After the judge issued the injunction, several supporters and advocates of free speech expressed their excitement. Jeremy C. Young, the Freedom to Learn program director at PEN America, a free speech advocacy group, said, "This is a victory for the freedom to learn."

He added, "The requirements threaten academic freedom and free speech by circumscribing faculty's professional discretion, and the judge has made the right decision to recommend a preliminary injunction."

In a statement to the Daily Caller, the California Community Colleges Chancellor's Office said, "We strongly disagree with the recommendation by the magistrate and will have a more detailed response within the next 14 days. It is well established that faculty and staff proficient in diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility creates a safer, more inclusive and more effective learning environment for all students in a system as large and diverse as the California Community Colleges."

Another case argues a similar issue against the California Community Colleges' DEI rules. The Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression sued California on behalf of six professors to stop the state from forcing them to incorporate DEI rules in the classroom. 

The six professors alleged that the rules force them to "espouse anti-racist concepts" while teaching, which they say violate their First and Fourteenth Amendment rights. 
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Comments

Laurence

Good! This DEI nonsense is nothing more than illegal favoritism of certain groups, at the expense of competent White males, on par with Affirmative Action.

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