Rep. Hall and Sen. Grover Announce Equal Opportunity Initiatives Bill

January 11, 2024

SALT LAKE CITY – Today, Rep. Katy Hall and Sen. Keith Grover announce legislation H.B. 261 Equal Opportunity Initiatives, which will provide support for students in Utah’s universities, colleges and K-12 schools, ensuring these institutions and government entities remain neutral on political issues, and protects freedom of speech on campuses and in the workplace. 

Utah’s colleges and universities are some of the best in the nation. The legislation ensures higher education institutions remain a free marketplace of ideas and knowledge and protects free speech and open dialogue on campuses. 

The bill puts common-sense policies in place for government agencies and universities by not requiring job applicants to pass an ideological litmus test or demanding that students or faculty in Utah’s universities adhere to a particular ideology to graduate or be hired. It will eliminate policies for state employees to attend training that tries to compel them to adopt a particular ideology. H.B. 261 Equal Opportunity Initiatives will also invest in “Student Success Offices” that provide support, guidance and resources that equip all students, including those at-risk of not completing their education, with experiences and opportunities that benefit a student’s academic and career goals without discrimination.

“In Utah, we’re dedicated to equal opportunity and student success. We believe campuses should embrace viewpoint diversity, academic freedom, freedom of expression and institutional political neutrality,” said Sen. Grover. “This bill will ensure institutions remain neutral on political issues, while students and faculty are able to express their opinions freely.” 

“Everyone deserves the support they need to succeed,” said Rep. Hall. “Higher education institutions play a key role in preparing students for the future. To stay true to that work, our colleges and universities must focus on their core missions of embracing academic excellence, fostering innovation, and cultivating a free marketplace of ideas. This legislation aims to support all students and faculty while promoting an environment of free, diverse and open opinions.” 

H.B. 261 Equal Opportunity Initiatives aims to do the following: 

  • Focus on removing barriers and ensuring fairness so all students can succeed. 
  • Guaranteeing higher education institutions remain a free marketplace of ideas and knowledge and protect free speech and open dialogue on campuses.
  • Ensure common-sense policies in state agencies and higher education institutions by no longer requiring applicants to provide submissions or attend trainings that promote political ideologies.
  • Prevents discriminatory practices based on an individual’s race, color, ethnicity, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, age, gender, religion or gender identity. 

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