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California professors sue community college system over DEI, ‘anti-racist’ mandates
Reedley College professor Bill Blanken (Image Source: Limelight Photography via the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression)

California professors sue community college system over DEI, ‘anti-racist’ mandates

Six California professors filed a lawsuit against the state’s community college system on Thursday over alleged mandated “anti-racist” and diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives.

The lawsuit, filed by the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression on behalf of the professors, accused California Community Colleges of forcing its educators to espouse controversial ideological viewpoints in the classroom.

The community college system oversees 73 districts and 116 colleges that educate 1.8 million students within California, the suit stated. All six plaintiffs are professors within the State Center Community College District.

“California Community Colleges’ new diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility rules (DEIA Rules) force professors to endorse the government’s view on politically charged questions regarding diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility.”

The lawsuit claimed that the college system’s DEIA Rules required “viewpoint conformity” that “compel[s] professors to teach and preach the State’s perspective” while subjecting them to “an array of overbroad, vague, and arbitrary requirements.”

Furthermore, the college system’s rules “forsake debate for top-down conformity, requiring faculty to endorse contested concepts” that they “strongly oppose,” including “anti-racism” and “intersectionality,” the lawsuit stated.

The professors’ complaint claimed that the college system “used the heavy hand of the government not to encourage debate … but end it.”

It also noted that faculty performance was, in part, based on their compliance with the new rules.

“If professors want to keep their jobs, each of California’s community colleges require that faculty incorporate the requirements into lesson plans and lectures,” the lawsuit claimed.

Bill Blanken, one of the professors suing California Community Colleges, said in a statement, “I’m a professor of chemistry. How am I supposed to incorporate DEI into my classroom instruction?”

“What’s the ‘anti-racist’ perspective on the atomic mass of boron?” he asked.

FIRE attorney Daniel Ortner called the college system’s mandates “a totalitarian triple-whammy.”

“The government is forcing professors to teach and preach a politicized viewpoint they do not share, imposing incomprehensible guidelines, and threatening to punish professors when they cross an arbitrary, indiscernible line,” Ortner stated.

The lawsuit noted that the government “warns professors not to ‘weaponize academic freedom and academic integrity as tools to impede equity’ or ‘inflict curricular trauma on our students.’”

Loren Palsgaard, an English professor and plaintiff in the lawsuit, explained, “Hearing uncomfortable ideas is not ‘curricular trauma,’ and teaching all sides of an issue is not ‘weaponizing’ academic freedom.”

“That’s just called ‘education,’” Palsgaard added.

The State Center Community College District did not respond to a request for comment, the Business Journal reported.

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Candace Hathaway

Candace Hathaway

Candace Hathaway is a staff writer for Blaze News.
@candace_phx →