I have whiplash. Whiplash that is caused by the sheer volume and speed at which legislation is being introduced, passed and implemented across the country. By the end of March we may see DEI, Abortion Pills and Drag Shows being criminalized, and no matter if your state is Red, Blue or Purple this will rock the leadership of your campus, and will require a serious approach that rises to the urgency of the time.
We have seen the take down of DEI efforts and offices - it has been broad in scope and surgically implemented. DEI initiatives have been wiped from the curriculum and from co-curricular activities. DEI Offices closed or renamed to something less ‘offensive’.
While we should not be surprised about the criminalization of Drag - it is not simply an attack on much beloved student traditions which will undoubtedly be canceled for reasons ranging from state fines, criminal charges or the ever present threat of armed Proud Boys arriving on campus. Rather, the criminalization of Drag is also a very loud warning sign for the inevitable goal of suppressing free speech,
Any day now, a Trump-appointed federal judge in Texas will rule on whether abortion pills will remain legal . It feels like just yesterday that states like California and Massachusetts and campuses across the country expanded access to medication abortion on campuses, only to find our students facing yet another obstacle to safe abortion and bodily autonomy.
I have whiplash. And I feel like we are not waging an effective offense, because we are consistently on defense. We cannot see the extremes as one off anomalies. Rather, we need to anticipate the worst. Seriously. The worst. Because when cruelty is the point of their actions, nothing will be enough.
Take the Overturning of Roe, while there were some in the abortion rights world that had protecting medication abortion in their sights, campuses and blue state leaders enacted medication abortion policies and planted our flag in the sand. While they moved the goalposts.
DEI and Drag need to learn from Abortion and anticipate what is coming not only next, but what comes after next, then next, then next. Consider the worst case scenario, not to cripple yourself with fear, but to embolden yourself with answers and strategies. We must launch offensives, not play defense. Freedoms are at stake.
Dr. Laura De Veau is Principal & Founder of Fortify Associates, LLC. Fortify Associates, LLC is unique in the higher education, not-for-profit, and public service market. They provide comprehensive workshops, program reviews and project management services with a combination of in-person and virtual delivery. Fortify Associates is committed to creating experiences that are unique to the needs and culture of each of their clients. Fortify Associates wants to elevate your organization and help you optimize your workplace. As a Predictive Index partner, Fortify can leverage the power of PI with the knowledge and talent of the Fortify team to create a truly unique set of offerings. Contact Dr. De Veau.
What's Up in The Academy? is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
YES - it's not enough to think "well, this is bad - but not THAT bad..." It's important to keep playing it forward - to answer the challenges to fundamental freedoms. Thanks for this perspective.