The Student News Site of University of Kentucky

Kentucky Kernel

The Student News Site of University of Kentucky

Kentucky Kernel

The Student News Site of University of Kentucky

Kentucky Kernel

Follow us on Instagram

Bill to end DEI initiatives at public universities in Kentucky fails to be voted on before veto period

Abbey Cutrer
The Beshear family and friends stand during the Armed Forces Salute during the 62nd Kentucky inauguration ceremony on Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2023, at the Kentucky State Capitol in Frankfort, Kentucky. Photo by Abbey Cutrer | Staff

Recently amended Senate Bill 6 was not voted on by the Kentucky Senate before entering the veto period last night, failing to advance through the General Assembly. 

The Senate did not concur with the proposed changes from House Bill 9, Republican Senate President Robert Stivers of Manchester told reporters. However the General Assembly has the chance to revive the diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) focused bill when they return from the veto period on April 12 but likely do not have time to override a veto from Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear.

On Friday, March 15, Senate Bill 6 as amended by House Committee Substitute 1 was received in the Senate for review after amending language from House Bill 9 and passed in a 68-18 vote, according to Kentucky’s General Assembly website

Senate Bill 6, an act relating to postsecondary institutions, according to the bill, was introduced in the Senate on Jan. 2 and sent to the Committee of Education the following day. After being sent to the Committee of Education, no action was taken on the bill until Feb. 8 when House Committee Substitute 1, a type of amendment, was proposed in the House by Rep. Jennifer Decker.

“An institution shall not … expend any resources to establish or maintain diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives,” section 2, subsection 1(h)(4) of House Committee Substitute 1 said.

If passed, House Committee Substitute 1 will curb Kentucky’s public institutions’ diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) efforts, such as DEI offices, policies and scholarships. 

As defined in the House Committee Substitution 1 document, diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives include “policies, practices, or procedures designed or implemented to promote or provide differential treatment or benefits to individuals on the basis of religion, race sex, color, or national origin,” including any policy, practice or procedure related to:

  • Employment 
  • Employee recruitment
  • Employee hiring
  • Employee promotion 
  • Contracts
  • Contract renewal 
  • Student recruitment 
  • Student admission
  • Student housing
  • Financial assistance 
  • Scholarship awards

The bill will ban these institutions from providing resources and funding for DEI offices, employing DEI officers and programs dedicated to informing a campus community about DEI.

According to section 2, subsection 1, of House Committee Substitute 1, the bill will prevent an institution from utilizing resources to provide DEI training, contribution to any participation in DEI training and to “require a student to enroll in or complete a course or training dedicated to the promotion or justification of discriminatory concepts or diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives as a mandatory graduation requirement.”

Upon passing, universities would be barred from providing differential treatment and benefit to any individual applying for employment or admission “on the basis of religion, race, sex, color or national origin,” section 2, subsection 1(a) of the House Committee Substitute said.

University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto sent an email to the campus community on March 18 regarding “several issues important to UK,” one of which being the House Committee Substitute 1.

Capilouto said funding for diversity offices and related efforts across UK would be eliminated if the bill were to pass. 

According to the email, team members from UK are in Frankfort “every day, monitoring proposals and giving voice to our perspective with policymakers who believe in what we do, but who also question in some cases how we do it.”

“Our team is there every day, monitoring proposals and giving voice to our perspective with policymakers who believe in what we do, but who also question in some cases how we do it,” Capilouto said in the email.

There are about two weeks left in the 2024 regular legislative session as it may not exceed April 15, 2024, according to the General Assembly website.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributors
Casey Sebastiano, News Editor
Abbey Cutrer, Managing/Photo Editor

Comments (0)

All Kentucky Kernel Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *