Goldwater Institute Warns Public Arizona State University It’s Violating State Law by Funding Mandatory DEI Training Course

Evan Poellinger | September 26, 2023
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The Goldwater Institute has put the federally-funded Arizona State University on notice for illegally using taxpayer funds to support Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) training as part of its curriculum. This training includes a course for faculty teaching about “the history of white supremacy and the social conditions for it to exist as a structural phenomenon,” after which the trainees are tested on their knowledge of the course content and “reported to their supervising dean” if they fail to give the correct responses.

The Media Research Center had the opportunity to speak with Goldwater Institute Staff Attorney Stacy Skankey. Skankey told MRC that the Goldwater Institute was first alerted to taxpayer-funded ASU’s practices about one year ago after initial reporting highlighted ASU’s DEI policies. “That was the tip that kind of got us going,” Skankey explained. “From there we did public records requests and have received some of that information but, as you know, some of that is still ongoing.”

“We know that this is the type of material that is prohibited by our state law,” Skankey noted.

Indeed, under a 2022 Arizona statute, the state of Arizona and its associated institutions are prohibited from spending public funds on training or requiring training that “presents any form of blame or judgment on the basis of race, ethnicity or sex.” Yet, this is exactly what ASU propagated to faculty during training sessions, demanding that they consider such phenomena as “white fragility” and “explaining white privilege to a broke white person.” Furthermore, faculty and staff would be asked to reflect on “ways white people can combat their privilege.”

ASU received more than a half-billion dollars in federal funds ($549,744,300) in Fiscal Year 2022.

In response to their discoveries, the Goldwater Institute has sent a pair of letters to ASU, asking it to cease indoctrinating its employees with DEI training and to hand over records and materials pertaining to the training.

“As of the moment, we are committed to just doing the demands and seeing where that takes us,” Skankey explained. “The resolution hope would be that they cease teaching any of this material and stop using taxpayer money for this material.”

Skankey added that, “everything is still on the table as far as what we might still be able to pursue or litigation down the road.”

Above all, Skankey emphasized the urgency with which the DEI indoctrination at ASU must be addressed. “It would be prudent for people to understand that we are talking about the most extreme form of DEI, and that is the type of material that is prohibited by statute in Arizona,” she stated. Additionally, ASU has deigned to “spend public money on that type of material and require faculty and staff to take such training,” Skankey said.

With the Goldwater Institute’s revelations of the sinister DEI training at ASU, it seems new meaning has been given to the phrase “your tax dollars at work” for the people of Arizona.