Neuroscientists interested in teaching at Tulane University in Louisiana must be board-certified or eligible to apply for a medical license as well as skilled in neurocritical care. All are standard requirements for a postsecondary position.

But read the fine print: Applicants also have to commit to Tulane’s statement on diversity, equity, and inclusion, or DEI, which has nothing to do with training better doctors or instructors.

This also appears to be a standard requirement today in higher education.

According to a new report that surveyed nearly 250 colleges, the free speech advocacy organization Speech First found that 67% of colleges require students to take courses in DEI to complete general education requirements. This finding is consistent with other research, including from the Goldwater Institute and the Reason Foundation.

Louisiana state legislators have noticed. Lawmakers have introduced a proposal that would defund DEI offices in public colleges and universities; prohibit schools from requiring job applicants to complete DEI loyalty oaths as a condition of applying for jobs or students to write such statements as a part of applying to attend a college in the state; and block employees from compelling students to say things they don’t believe.

That would be a welcome change in Louisiana’s public university system. As a private school, Tulane serves as an example of how DEI is advancing racism in private institutions, but lawmakers should focus their authority on taxpayer-funded state colleges.

DEI programs do more to promote exclusivity than belonging. In 2022, Louisiana State University’s Office of Multicultural Affairs hosted a graduation event for students from minority ethnicities. The announcement made no mention of students who didn’t identify as “Latinx/Hispanic/Latin American, Native American, Asian/Asian American & Pacific Islander.”

Likewise, LSU’s Emergency Medicine Program hosts regular meetings for “faculty and resident BIPOC [black, indigenous, people of color] and allies” on the subjects of “microaggressions, ally-ship, implicit bias, explicit bias,” and more—a hit parade of identity politics.

University faculty and students have a right to gather, discuss issues, and advocate their beliefs, but under the guise of DEI, these programs use identity politics and categorize people based on race or ethnicity instead of character and behavior. At public colleges and universities, taxpayers are paying for discriminatory activities.

Over the past 18 months, state lawmakers around the country have prohibited the use of taxpayers’ money on DEI offices. Lawmakers in nearly a dozen more states are considering proposals this year to end DEI and racial preferences in college programs.

State officials have recognized that DEI offices don’t secure civil rights but rather act as bureaucracies that impress racial favoritism in university or business operations. Idaho’s new law, adopted at the end of March, directly rebukes the use of racial preferences in hiring and admissions and says that any such decisions at state universities “shall be made on merit.”

Smart move. The research on DEI activities is clear: DEI doesn’t change individual attitudes or behavior and can produce resentment in those required to participate. And DEI activists such as Ibram X. Kendi have criticized federal civil rights laws, saying these laws “spurred racist progress.”

In DEI parlance, “antiracism” means “discrimination,” “equity” means “partisanship,” and “belonging” means “look like me and talk like me”—casting doubt on any claims that DEI is trying to preserve civil rights.

LSU officials recently renamed the school’s Division of Inclusion, Civil Rights, and Title IX as the Division of Engagement, Civil Rights, and Title IX, steering away from the third term (“inclusion”) in the DEI moniker. But students, taxpayers, and state lawmakers shouldn’t be satisfied with this decision as evidence that the school is abolishing DEI’s racist activities.

The LSU faculty senate, which advises the president and board of directors, has a DEI committee. The College of Humanities and Social Sciences also has a DEI committee. Diversity, equity, and inclusion doctrine is undeniably still a part of the campus culture.

Offices in charge of diversity, equity, and inclusion don’t make campuses more diverse, nor do they create healthy workplaces or classrooms. Louisiana lawmakers should protect civil rights, remove DEI offices, and teach students the value of earning success—not the unmerited benefits of preferential treatment.