EDUCATE Act Would Ban DEI in Medical Schools

Evan Poellinger | May 1, 2024

A bill sponsored by Rep. Greg Murphy (R, NC) would withhold federal funding from medical schools which engage in discriminatory practices related to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) ideology. Rep. Murphy’s bill, the EDUCATE Act, which had its companion bill introduced in the Senate by Sen. John Kennedy (R, LA), establishes a number of different actions that would jeopardize the reception of federal funding.

These include the decision to “direct, compel, or incentivize students, faculty, or staff of the medical school to personally state, pledge, recite, affirm, or otherwise adopt any of the following tenets,” such as, “that any sex, race, ethnicity, religion, color, or national origin makes an individual a member of oppressed or oppressor categories” and “that individuals should be adversely treated on the basis of their sex, race, ethnicity, religion, color, or national origin.”

In addition to ideological affirmations, the bill would also prohibit “making a distinction or classification of medical school students on the basis of race, color, or ethnicity,” or by requiring “a course of instruction or a unit of study at the medical school directing or otherwise compelling students, faculty, or staff to personally state, pledge, recite, affirm, or otherwise adopt any of the tenets” of DEI ideology.

Additionally, the bill would prevent medical schools from being able to “establish, maintain, or contract with a diversity, equity, and inclusion office or any other functional equivalent of such an office, to serve the medical school.” The bill also specifies items that fall under the term DEI as “any component of an institution of higher education, including any division, unit, or center of such an institution, that is responsible for compelling individuals to state, pledge, recite, affirm, or otherwise adopt ideas that are in violation of title IV or title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.”

Upon introduction of his original bill in March, Rep. Murphy outlined the necessity of protections against DEI on the federal level. “American medical schools are the best in the world and no place for discrimination,” Murphy explained. “The EDUCATE Act compels medical schools and accrediting agencies to uphold colorblind admissions processes and prohibits the coercion of students who hold certain political opinions. Diversity strengthens medicine, but not if it’s achieved through exclusionary practices. Medicine is about serving others and doing the best job possible in every circumstance. We cannot afford to sacrifice the excellence and quality of medical education at the hands of prejudice and divisive ideology."

Numerous states have taken steps to combat DEI at their respective public universities. However, if Rep. Murphy’s bill gains traction, it may represent one of the first significant anti-DEI actions taken at the federal level.