Frequently Asked Questions about HB261

Updated as of February 19, 2024

As the Utah Legislature has passed HB261, several questions have been posed. While we're likely to understand more in the coming weeks and months, here is what we understand so far about potential impacts.

What will happen to the university’s equity, diversity, and inclusion work?

Weber State will continue to work toward its mission of making higher education accessible for all, regardless of race, sex, income, background, religion, or any other factor. This law will not change that. While this law does not go into effect until July 1, 2024, the university will be proactively working through how those efforts will be impacted and will continue finding ways to improve student access and success. 

How will the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Division change?

The law prohibits using terminology referring to diversity, equity, and inclusion associated with offices, programming, initiatives, policies, and practices. At the same time, the law creates incentives to move forward the work of student success and support, particularly those who are at higher risk of not completing, without excluding individuals based on personal identity characteristics. Funding for the Equity Diversity, and Inclusion Division will be moved to the Student Access and Success Division, in alignment with the law. Individual offices and positions will be restructured under the Student Access and Success Division as the university refocuses the work of dismantling barriers and creating access for all students across the campuses.

What else does the new law do?

The law prohibits "discriminatory practices." Under the law "discriminatory practices" are defined as engaging in or maintaining a policy, procedure, practice, program, office, initiative based on personal identity characteristics (race, color, ethnicity, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, or gender identity) related to decisions such as hiring, admission, graduation, finanical aid, or participation in activities. The definition also includes asserting a list of statements related to identity-based relationship dynamics. The law prohibits the university from employing or assigning job duties to individuals that include coordinating, creating, developing, designing, implementing, organizing, planning or promoting "discriminatory practices." It also prohibits the university from taking, expressing, or asserting a position or opinion on many of the listed "discriminatory practices." 

How will HB261 affect cultural centers?

The missions of the cultural and identity-based centers, to provide education and connection for all of the campus community, will continue, though there will be changes to the focus of their activities and restructuring as these programs are adapted to meet the requirements of the law.

How will the new law change hiring practices?

University policy (PPM 3-32) and state and federal law already prohibit discrimination against individuals based on their protected categories, such as race, sex, gender identity, national origin, religion, etc. There are no quotas used in hiring practices. The university created the Search Advocate program in order to help expand candidate pools, enhance consistency, and increase accurate and objective assessments during the hiring process with the intention of creating greater opportunity for all. The university has discouraged the use of diversity statements for some time and will continue to review HR practices to make sure they align with the law. This includes any mandatory training programs. 

How will the new legislation affect course content or research?

Classroom instruction and research are not affected by the new law. Both were specifically excluded. The law requires that the university publish the titles and syllabi of all mandatory courses, seminars, classes, workshops, and training sessions in a readily searchable manner by the public online. The university will be working toward implementing that directive.

How will HB261 impact free speech on the campus? 

Supporting free speech is vital to the health of an institution of higher education as a marketplace of ideas, as well as a constitutional imperative. HB261 requires the university to establish policies and procedures to include opportunities for education and research on free speech and civic education, including helping employees understand the bounds of free speech in their role working for the university. The university provides these opportunities and will be creating even more specific learning opportunities through Training Tracker. Learn more about free speech and the university’s policies on the free speech website.

How will HB261 impact speakers on the campus?

Under current university and Board of Higher Education policy, the university is charged to provide opportunity for a plurality of speakers to engage an array of viewpoints. HB261 affirms that directive and the university will be reviewing its processes for creating those forums for speakers on campus.


The information above is for general overview purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Each situation is different and legal review is fact-specific. Consult the law or policies for specific information.