Kansas colleges aren’t sweating new law threatening $10,000 fines for certain DEI policies 

The change will take effect July 1 after the state’s governor let it become law.

by Blaise Mesa


  • Kansas public universities can face fines for requiring DEI statements during hiring processes.
  • Despite a political divide, the law passed without gubernatorial opposition.
  • Universities in Kansas largely feel unaffected by the law and continue to prioritize diversity and inclusion efforts.

Requiring job candidates to talk about diversity, equity and inclusion during the hiring process could subject public universities in Kansas to $10,000 fines. 

new law bans colleges from requiring statements of support or opposition to political ideologies or movements during admission, hiring or promotion processes. 

In practice, that means colleges can’t require staff or job candidates to answer questions or write one- or two-page memos on their contributions to DEI or their plans to contribute to DEI if hired. 

The law passed the Republican-controlled Legislature largely along party lines. It then went to the state’s Democratic governor, who could have used her veto powers to try and kill the bill. 

Instead, Gov. Laura Kelly let it become law without her signature. She is concerned about the law, but Kelly said it has such a limited real-world impact because Kansas universities don’t insist on those things now. 

“We need to move forward and focus our efforts on making college more affordable and providing students from all backgrounds with the tools they need to succeed,” Kelly said in a press release.

The Beacon contacted public universities in Kansas. Those that responded said the bill either didn’t apply on their campuses or they expected almost no change in how they operate. 

“We do not feel that any recent policy or legislative changes will prevent us from continuing to offer an open and inclusive college experience for students of all ages, races, colors, national origin, genders, religions and disabilities,” said Lainie Mazzullo-Hart, director of communications at Wichita State University, in an emailed statement. 

Colleges like Pittsburg State University, Fort Hays State University and Emporia State University said they are already compliant with the policy language or will not be significantly affected by the change. The law targets diversity practices, but DEI offices are still allowed to operate and staff who have a position solely focused on DEI will keep their jobs. 

This article was republished here with the permission of: The Beacon