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10 stories on DEI backlash in 2023

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Backlash to diversity, equity and inclusion efforts came to a head this year after a landmark ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in late June that declared affirmative action admission programs unconstitutional.

But the inklings of broader DEI pushback began far before that decision was handed down. While DEI became a conversation center piece in the wake of 2020’s racial reckoning, companies had more recently begun to back off of DEI initiatives, particularly by laying off DEI pros, according to a May report from Pew Research Center.

And in the wake of the decision, pushback became more obvious. America First Legal, a group led by former Trump Administration Advisor Stephen Miller, has headed a number of lawsuits challenging DEI programs at various institutions. And Republican lawmakers in Wisconsin held back money from one of the state’s university systems in a protracted fight over its DEI spending.

In response, DEI practitioners have outlined strategies that employers can adopt to ensure programs continue to make a difference at their organizations. Below, we’ve gathered some of our biggest stories on DEI pushback this year, including advice from experts on where to go from here.

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