Arizona State prof sues school for mandatory anti-white DEI training

Professor Owen Anderson is suing Arizona State University over a required DEI course for faculty, a requirement which he claims violates state law.

The ‘ASU Inclusive Communities’ course allegedly includes concepts such as ‘white fragility,’ ‘white privilege,’ and ways to ‘critique whiteness.’

A professor is suing Arizona State University in Tempe for requiring faculty to take a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) training.

Owen Anderson, a professor of philosophy and religious studies, filed the lawsuit on March 19 with the legal representation of the Goldwater Institute.

The suit alleges that the university is requiring faculty to take an “ASU Inclusive Communities” course. The training allegedly teaches a variety of anti-white concepts, including “What is White Privilege, Really,” “Explaining White privilege to a broke white person,” and “7 Ways White People Can Combat Their Privilege.”

[RELATED: Cronkite journalism school forces students to learn about ‘microaggressions’ and ‘cisgender privilege’ to graduate]

Other statements allegedly made in the course assert that asking ethnic minorities where they are from constitutes racism and that heterosexuality “is privileged by going largely unquestioned.”

Employees are supposedly required to take an exam following completion of the course with “predetermined ‘correct’ answers.” Failure to choose the correct answers on the test could result in being reported to one’s supervisor, the suit alleges.

The lawsuit also states that “Arizona law prohibits discriminatory practices by the state, state agencies, and specifically prohibits government entities … from requiring its employees to participate in mandatory training programs that present any form of ‘blame or judgment on the basis of race, ethnicity or sex.’”

“I shouldn’t be forced to take training and affirm ideas with which I disagree as a condition of employment,’” Owen has stated. “This ‘training’ is simply racism under the guise of DEI. It goes against my conscience, and I want no part of it.”

Owens also noted in an interview with Fox & Friends that he had previously been required to provide the school with proof that he had “decolonized” his classroom and syllabus. 

[RELATED: Arizona drops DEI statements from all university job applications]

The Goldwater Institute notes on its website that it sent a letter to the Arizona Board of Regents in September 2023 “demanding that ASU immediately cease and desist from spending any public monies to provide the ASU Inclusive Communities training and/or requiring that any member of the ASU faculty or staff participate in such training,” but the school continued anyway.

The lawsuit requests that the court take a number of actions, including prohibiting ASU from being able to require faculty to take the course and exam.

Campus Reform has contacted Arizona State University, the Goldwater Institute, and Owen Anderson for comment. This article will be updated accordingly.

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