Fedweek

Federal agencies are “broadly discontinuing training sessions on diversity and inclusion in fear of violation” of the recent executive order barring training in the federal workplace on what the order calls race or sex stereotyping or scapegoating, a senator who has been monitoring agency responses has said.

OPM recently reminded agencies that under the order, they must submit to its review all materials used in diversity and inclusiveness type training, effectively putting such training on indefinite hold.

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But Sen. Michael Bennett, D-Colo., has said that “it is apparent that the vague and misleading phrasing of the directive may result or may have already resulted in the termination of programs that cover diversity, equity, and inclusion in much broader terms than those detailed in the directive.”

He cited reports of cancellation of programs including one on environmental justice at the EPA and an arts program discussion of a film on Malcom X at the Defense Department. Such programs “are important in bringing forward the voices of underrepresented individuals. Rather than stoking divisiveness, diversity training sessions seek to inform how the world affects those of different races,” he wrote.

He asked those agencies plus the Energy Department for a description of all training or other programs suspended or canceled under the order, and for a copy of instructions they received on carrying it out.

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