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Posted under: News Politics

Two Colleges Suspend Diversity Events After Trump Threatens Companies, Institutions Who Don't Comply With Exec Order

The order, which initially just applied to government agencies, has expanded to corporations and institutions.

Two higher institutions are bowing down to President Donald Trump after he recently pushed for restrictions against diversity training. 

According to Inside Higher Ed, The University of Iowa and John A. Logan College in Illinois has suspended diversity events, citing fear of consequence of violating the executive order against "divisive concepts."

As Blavity previously reported, the White House order last month moved to ban federal agencies from conducting cultural sensitivity training, claiming such anti-racist and equality programs are “divisive, anti-American propaganda.” 

Liz Tovar, the University of Iowa’s interim associate vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion, claimed the school could lose federal funding if it doesn't follow the President's command.

“Diversity, equity and inclusion remain as core values within our institution,” Tovar said in a statement. "After consulting with multiple entities, and given the seriousness of the penalties for non-compliance with the order, which include the loss of federal funding, we are recommending that all units temporarily pause for a two-week period.”

Meanwhile, John A. Logan College suspended a Hispanic Heritage Month talk planned for next week. However, the college didn't clarify its interpretation of the executive order. 

The White House statement from last month specifically points to employees within the executive branch of the government.

"It has come to the President's attention that agencies within the executive branch have spent millions of taxpayer dollars to date 'training' government workers to believe divisive, anti-American propaganda," the White House Office of Management and Budget said in a statement.

According to Inside Higher Ed, an unnamed senior administration official from the White House Office of Management and Budget responded on Tuesday after the order continued to create confusion. 

The official said the executive order “is not limited to federal agencies and applies to federal contractors and grant recipients when allowed by law."

The Chicago Tribune reports that companies which don’t act in accordance with the ban are at risk of losing funding. 

"Agencies should review their grant programs to use the discretion they have to apply the prohibitions to grant recipients,” the source stated.

Iowa’s Office of General Counsel said the order may apply to all employees at the university, which is a federal contractor and a recipient of funds from federal agencies.

"General Counsel believes the provisions regarding training of employees may be read as applicable to all our employees and not just to those working on or funded through federal contracts,” a spokesperson said.

Roberto E. Barrios, a professor of anthropology at Southern Illinois University, was scheduled to speak at John A. Logan College as part of Hispanic Heritage Month. Barrios said no one contacted him before canceling his talk to see if it violated the executive order.

The professor was planning to deliver a speech titled “Reflections on Hispanic and Latinx Identity in a Time of Upheavals.”

“Critique is not an act of hatred, it’s an act of self-improvement,” Barrios said. “One thing that a university education can do for us is be a means of acquiring new skills to earn a good livelihood and good jobs. But the other important mission is helping develop future citizens who can think critically. That’s my American dream.”

USA Today reports the Labor Department is investigating Wells Fargo's initiative to have more Black people in leadership within the company. 

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