PA lawmakers look to ban mandatory DEI training and coursework for college students

16 February 2024- Rep. Stephenie Scialabba (R-Butler) introduced two bills that would affect institutions of higher education in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. House Bill 2040 requires greater transparency on how tax dollars are used abroad. House Bill 2041 prohibits the institution from requiring the completion of Critical Race Theory (CRT) or Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) training or coursework. 

“Recently, Penn State University funded a trip to Ghana where they taught Ghana citizens about gender as a social construct in farming,” said Scialabba. “The best use of those dollars would be for something that helps Pennsylvanians.” Scialabba’s bill will require institutions to create public reports a year in advance about the cost of these trips, the source of the funding, the purpose, and the benefit derived for Pennsylvanians. 

“Additionally, I learned that the University of Pittsburgh is requiring undergraduate and graduate students to complete diversity training,” said Scialabba. “These concepts and courses should be offered as electives and should not be forced upon students, especially where the pedagogy is unbalanced with a mandatory course of counterthought. Holding degrees, credit hours and education hostage to these ideas is not only underhanded, but also un-American.” The legislation will prohibit an institution of higher education from requiring a student to complete diversity training or a diversity course in order to graduate, receive a degree or receive credit hours.  

North Dakota became the first state to enact a law banning mandatory diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) training and the use of diversity statements in hiring and promotions at public institutions of higher education. Arizona, Tennessee and more than a dozen other states have similar measures in the pipeline.