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Complying with HB 261

In January 2024, the Utah Legislature passed House Bill 261 to reshape diversity initiatives at state colleges and universities. The University of Utah remains committed to its core missions and belief in the intrinsic value of every member of the U community. And as a public institution, the university will follow state law.

This style guide entry, in particular, is designed for marketing and communications professionals to provide instruction on how to use the most up-to-date language to be in compliance with the parameters set by state lawmakers and the Utah System of Higher Education.

Below are examples of suggested language for landing pages, mission statements, student programs, and other uses.

Words to avoid:

Diversity, equity, inclusion—together or separately (click here for additional prohibited language)

Instead, use:

  • Descriptive phrases that emphasize the goals and priorities of the programs
  • Frame programs in terms of student, faculty, staff and community success

Preferred words:

  • all backgrounds
  • belonging
  • differing viewpoints
  • equal opportunity
  • social mobility
  • student well-being
  • underserved

Example 1 (from a mission statement)

Original text: The center creates community and advocates for academic success and belonging for students across all individual identities and experiences among our underrepresented populations.

Updated text: The center creates community and advocates for academic success and belonging for all university students across different geographies, cultures, faith traditions, physical abilities and genders. OR JUST…all backgrounds.

Example 2 (from a student ambassador program)

Original text: The college is committed to fostering a welcoming culture. It’s important that our students, staff, faculty, and guests feel included and represented at the School. We insist on a climate of belonging, not just because it creates a safe place for everyone, but because we’re all better and more empathetic people when we learn what it’s like to live in someone else’s shoes. Because of this, the School and the University of Utah offer clubs, events, initiatives, and many other resources to foster a welcoming environment. This college is for everyone.

Updated text: No update needed. This text is not in violation of HB 261.

Example 3 (list of skills gained from student programs)

Original Text
Updated Text
Identity Development
Self Confidence
Personal & Cultural Confidence
Purpose, Passion, People
Cross-Cultural Engagement
Campus Community Building
Cultural Affirmation
Viewpoint Diversity

Example 4 (campus guide from a 2020 event)

Original text: In 2020, the University of Utah's Vice President for Equity and Inclusion, Dr. Mary Ann Villarreal, tasked a group of staff and faculty to investigate and report on policies/practices in academia that encourage ongoing pedagogical development that is centered on diversity and inclusion in classrooms on campus and online. The contents of this draft were used to inform future directions for the University of Utah Division of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. See index of sections (left) for what is essentially an annotated bibliography in the wish that this will inform your research. (Published here).

Updated text: No update needed. This is a historical event that predates the July 1, 2024 effective date of the legislation. No changes necessary.

Example 5 (describes an academic, research-based approach that is NOT associated with an academic program)

Original text: Using a Pan-African lens, the center seeks to holistically enrich, support, and advocate for faculty, staff, trainees, and students through Black-centered research, culturally affirming educational initiatives, and service.

The Center will enact this mission through intentional programmatic learning outcomes, envisioned to build a sense of belonging and community at the U, with the goal of increasing the recruitment and retention of Black faculty, staff, and students. Through research, education, and service this center will promote and explore race/racism, social justice, cross disciplines, community connections, centering the Black voice, leadership, and the larger African diasporic community.

Updated text: Dedicated to creating a campus where all are welcome and thrive, the center seeks to holistically enrich, support, and advocate for faculty, staff, trainees, and students through research, educational initiatives and service.

Example 6 (provides context for a research project that requires the word "diversity")

In such instances, include the number of the federally funded grant in descriptions of the project. See the following sample wording and example below:

  • These programs are organized as part of a federally funded grant (NIH/NCI P30CA042014).
  • This research [this program, etc.] is supported by federal funding from the National Institutes of Health.