Diversity, equity and inclusion banned in state institutions, what BYU students think

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Daniela Alvarez, a student employee with the Multicultural Student Services, works at the computer. The receptionist desk offers help with the Office of Belonging, Multicultural Student Services and International Student Services. (Isaac Rascon)

Governor Cox signed a Utah bill banning the diversity, equity and inclusion programs at public and state institutions on Tuesday, Jan. 30.

This new legislation, however, has no impact on BYU according to Todd Hollingshead, the Media Relations Manager at BYU University Communications.

Students often study, relax, and hang out while at the Office of Belonging. The Office of Belonging is a campus office geared toward helping students feel like they belong. (Isaac Rascon)

“This bill is aimed at public schools … the Office of Belonging here at BYU will continue to function in its current capacity,” Hollingshead said. 

Janelle Dadson, a receptionist for the Multicultural Student Services at BYU, said this ban is very concerning.

“I think it’s definitely a negative thing for schools to have to get rid of their diversity equity and inclusion initiatives … In my personal experience, the Multicultural Student Services has been super beneficial to me,” she said.

It’s not only because of the program itself — it’s the people there, she said.

“In the office I’ve just been able to build a good community with other people of a bunch of diverse cultures, but all sharing, like, common values and traditions,” Dadson said.

The MSS and Office of Belonging have become a safe space for Dadson, she said.

“Its just a good space to feel like you belong and you can talk about your culture,” she said.

Tyler Pasa is a student employee at the Office of Belonging. The Office of Belonging is a campus office geared toward helping students feel like they belong. (Isaac Rascon)

The Office of Belonging is all about using a gospel approach to help students feel like they belong, Tyler Pasa, a student employee at the Office of Belonging, said.

“We really try to show people, you know, the Christlike example of helping other people who don’t feel represented on campus to feel welcomed in God’s kingdom,” he said.

Pasa said he feels that banning diversity, equity, and inclusion centers in state institutions is unfair.

“It shows that, you know, people of different ethnic groups or … people who don’t feel welcomed just in the community in general … they don’t feel as if they are heard or if they are welcomed,” Pasa said.

Because this legislation is directed at public institutions, BYU as a private institution will not be making comment on the bill itself, Hollingshead said.

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