FAIR News: Thanks to FAIR, DEI hits a roadblock
Dear Friends of FAIR,
Much of the work we do at FAIR often occurs behind the scenes and under the radar, so it’s especially gratifying when our success is not only visible, but also makes a HUGE impact. That’s what happened last week.
For more than a year, FAIR has been on the forefront of legal efforts to eliminate Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives at colleges and universities that demonize white students and teachers and silence people of any color who challenge race essentialist ideology. Because shaming and embarrassing anyone for their immutable characteristics isn’t just divisive; it’s illegal. Yet knowing that something is wrong and even unlawful isn’t enough to stop it. It takes courageous and principled people who are willing to stand up, raise their voice, and risk the consequences.
Professor Zack De Piero is one of these brave people.
Last year, FAIR funded De Piero’s lawsuit against Penn State University based on racial discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. De Piero, who is white, was forced out of his job after being subjected to a racially hostile environment. He and other faculty and staff were required to attend conferences and trainings that assigned negative traits to White people and even condemned them when they spoke or were present, simply because they were white. During a “Conversation on Racial Climate,” De Piero and his peers engaged in a breathing exercise in which ‘white and non-black people of color’ were instructed to “hold it just a little longer—to feel the pain.”
Penn State filed a motion to dismiss De Piero’s claim, but on January 12th the tables turned in a major way when a federal district court denied the university's motion. The ruling, itself, dealt a major blow to Penn State, but the language in the court’s opinion is especially damning to DEI efforts:
Training on concepts such as ‘white privilege’, “white fragility’, implicit bias, or critical race theory can contribute positively to nuanced, important conversations about how to form a healthy and inclusive working environment [. . . ] But the way these conversations are carried out in the workplace matters: When employers talk about race—any race, [. . .] —with a constant drumbeat of essentialist, deterministic, and negative language, they risk liability under federal law."
Make no mistake, this decision is a game changer because it potentially opens the door to litigation for thousands of plaintiffs who have endured race-based discrimination on campuses under the auspices of DEI.
Whether or not De Piero prevails at trial, [Judge] Beetlestone’s ruling could have an effect on how schools approach DEI. The kind of DEI programming described in De Piero’s complaint is widespread on college campuses; I’ve encountered many examples of similar programming through my reporting. Now lawyers may scrutinize that programming partly with Beetlestone’s ruling in mind. And colleges hoping to avoid liability or costly lawsuits may study the fact pattern that Beetlestone saw as plausibly unlawful. If they’re doing anything similar, they may reconsider.
De Piero’s trial is still a ways off, and victory is not assured. But this case is the first of its kind, and the fact that it’s moving forward is yet another sign that the tide is turning—and FAIR has been instrumental in making that happen. This may not be the end of DEI, but it could be the beginning of the end.
With your support, FAIR can continue to support De Piero’s groundbreaking litigation and ensure that Penn State and other schools pay attention, or pay the consequences. Please donate and support our effort to end identity politics on campus and promote diversity without division.
Executive Director, Foundation Against Intolerance & Racism
Silencing Medical Professionals Has To Stop - Stories from the Trenches
Join FAIR in Medicine on Thursday, February 15th at 7pm ET for a conversation with Dr. Richard Bosshardt, FAIR in Medicine and DoNoHarm Fellow and plastic surgeon, as well as Rick McCarthy, Marriage and Family Therapist and retired professor of psychology. Hear how these two very successful veterans in their respective fields have dealt with censorship in their organizations, how they are fighting to restore free speech, and how they are reversing the damaging effects of DEI in their professions.
Join Dissident Dialogues (in partnership with UnHerd and sponsored by Ground News) in New York City on May 3rd & 4th! The world’s leading and most original thinkers gather for two days of debate, discussion, and disagreement. Discussions will feature FAIR advisors Michael Shellenbeger and Lee Fang, as well as Richard Dawkins, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, John McWhorter, Steven Pinker, Konstantin Kisin, Francis Foster, John Vervaeke, Thomas Chatterton Williams, Kathleen Stock, Freddie Sayers, Bridget Phetasy, Diana S. Fleischman, Africa Brooke, Alex O'Connor, and Mary Harrington!
Countering California’s Gender Ideology Laws with Attorney Erin Friday
Standing up for Equality in Medical Practice: Tara Gustilo Case Updates
Standing Up to Racial Discrimination and Ideological Orthodoxy on Campus: Zack De Piero Case Updates
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