NAICU Washington Update

Enforcement of Executive Order on Race and Sex Stereotyping Halted

January 07, 2021

In late December, a federal district court granted a nationwide preliminary injunction halting enforcement of President Trump’s recent Executive Order (EO) 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.” 

In issuing the injunction, the court found that the plaintiffs in the case were likely to succeed on the merits of their claims that the EO is both unconstitutionally vague and violates the First Amendment. According to the court, “requiring federal grantees to certify that they will not use grant funds to promote concepts the Government considers ‘divisive,’ even where the grant program is wholly unrelated to such concepts, is a violation of the grantee’s free speech rights.” 

A group of eight institutions of higher education filed an amicus brief in the case, citing the “vague and intrusive” nature of the EO and the chilling effect that it would have on the free speech rights of colleges and universities that receive federal contracts.  Members of the higher education community, including NAICU, also sent a letter to the Trump Administration requesting the withdrawal of the EO based on its potential to undermine existing efforts to foster diversity and inclusion on college campuses.

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