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Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: What Comes Next

Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard (2023), employers are assessing their diversity goals with very different conclusions. Florida's Board of Education announced public colleges cannot use state and federal funds for diversity, equity, and inclusion programs, activities, and policies. The state has 28 schools in its college system and considers DEI a set of "destructive ideologies." The state also removed its "Principles of Sociology" course because it exposes students to "radical woke ideologies."

In the private sector, various entities have filed lawsuits to challenge corporate diversity and inclusion programs. Some companies are revising their diversity programs in response, including their fellowships, hiring goals, anti-bias training, and contract programs for minority or women-owned businesses. According to Fortune, job openings for diversity officers and the like are declining. Despite proceeding with caution, most major companies are sticking with some initiatives. Starbucks and Disney have prevailed thus far with court challenges to their policies. Several law firms changed the wording of their diversity initiatives to include all races but continue to offer them. Pfizer dropped race-based eligibility for its fellowship program. Despite a protest by America First Legal, Macy's head said it plans to stick with its 30% goal for ethnic diversity in its leadership roles. The company initiated a leadership training program for some managers of color. In addition, the company adds DEI goals in annual performance reviews.

The employment law firm Littler conducted an Inclusion, Equity, and Diversity C-Suite Survey Report from 320 C-suite executives nationwide. The firm found most employers remain committed to and, in some cases, intend to expand their efforts. These efforts include training and educational resources for employees and promoting diverse employees to leadership positions.