NAICU Washington Update

NAICU Requests Withdrawal of EO on Race and Sex Stereotypes

October 09, 2020

Members of the higher education community, including NAICU, sent a letter to President Trump requesting the withdrawal of his recent Executive Order restricting federal contractors from conducting workplace training that is based on race or sex stereotypes. The letter states that the withdrawal is needed because the Executive Order has the potential to undermine existing efforts to foster diversity and inclusion on college campuses.
Specific concerns raised in the letter include the possible chilling effect of the Order, its ambiguous and burdensome nature, and its effect on freedom of speech.
Under the Executive Order, all federal contracts entered into after November 21, 2020 must contain a provision barring federal contractors from using “any workplace training that inculcates in its employees any form of race or sex stereotyping or any form of race or sex scapegoating.” According to the Order, examples of such stereotyping or scapegoating include training that teaches that one race or sex is inherently superior to another race or sex or that an individual is inherently racist or sexist by virtue of his or her race or sex. The Executive Order is the latest in a series of recent actions taken by the Trump Administration to articulate its policy views on race discrimination in education.
Meanwhile, under the Executive Order, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) is required to publish, by October 22, 2020, a notice directing federal contractors to submit copies of training programs on diversity and inclusion for federal review. In the meantime, OFCCP has published a set of Frequently Asked Questions about the Order.
Finally, it is important to note that the Executive Order requires federal agencies to identify grant programs that may be subject to similar conditions in the future.

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