Response from the Division for Equity and Inclusion to
Executive Order on "Combating Race & Sex Stereotyping"  - 9/24/2020

(SEPTEMBER 24, 2020) - Last evening, President Trump issued an executive order which broadens his previous action targeted at eliminating workplace diversity training programs within federal agencies the president considers “offensive and anti-American race and sex stereotyping and scapegoating.” The executive order outlines a process by which restrictions will now apply to federal contractors. Additionally, Section 5 of the executive order instructs federal agencies to “review their respective grant programs and identify programs for which the agency may” apply conditions to receiving a grant. Agencies are to submit a report to OMB within 60 days.

Sec. 5. Requirements for Federal Grants. The heads of all agencies shall review their respective grant programs and identify programs for which the agency may, as a condition of receiving such a grant, require the recipient to certify that it will not use Federal funds to promote the concepts that (a) one race or sex is inherently superior to another race or sex; (b) an individual, by virtue of his or her race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously; (c) an individual should be discriminated against or receive adverse treatment solely or partly because of his or her race or sex; (d) members of one race or sex cannot and should not attempt to treat others without respect to race or sex; (e) an individual’s moral character is necessarily determined by his or her race or sex; (f) an individual, by virtue of his or her race or sex, bears responsibility for actions committed in the past by other members of the same race or sex; (g) any individual should feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress on account of his or her race or sex; or (h) meritocracy or traits such as a hard work ethic are racist or sexist, or were created by a particular race to oppress another race. Within 60 days of the date of this order, the heads of agencies shall each submit a report to the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) that lists all grant programs so identified.

DEI’s response:

Clearly, the writers of this executive order do not understand the nature of systemic racism, sexism, oppression, nor do they accept the extent to which such systems of power are embedded in our modern institutions.

Given that these issues are systemic and that wealth gaps in the US result from low wages, inequitable access to health care, and systematic withdrawal of resources from Black, Brown, and poor communities, etc, anti-racist (and related) education is not focused on characterizing all individuals of European descent (for example) as ”inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive.”

The education explains that a system built on racial hierarchy (beginning with slavery and settler colonialism—we all recognize our history in the U.S. and initial wealth gaps started with occupying Native land, enslaving Africans, and indenturing poor Europeans—some of whom were not even initially considered “white”, etc) has resulted in persistence of an educational system, health care systems, religious organizations, law enforcement, etc (or “institutions” as we refer to them in sociology) that preserve the notion of racial hierarchy resulting in devaluing Black, Indigenous, and Brown lives at every turn.

Social scientists, medical scientists, and scholars in humanities, etc have decades-long records of research publications (largely utilizing research tools developed by the same racial hierarchy, including but not limited to methods developed by eugenicists, gynecological research conducted against Jewish women in concentration campus and both enslaved and free Black women, medical research that provided placebos to Black men resulting in untreated syphilis and death, qualitative research practices developed on basis of research that took advantage of gay men) providing evidence that racial inequalities have caused and maintained recurring political and material advantages for white people in the US, especially those of the middle and upper classes.

Furthermore, Institutions of Higher Education in the United States enjoy the protections of academic freedom, as guaranteed by the AAUP and university policies, that protect their research and teaching missions  from federal interference, including this most recent gratuitous use of power by the Trump administration.  The Executive Order on “Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping” dismisses decades of social science evidence and denies the persistence of systemic racism, heteropatriarchy, settler colonialism and other intersectional violence in US society. Below are links to all the scholarly associations statements on race and intersectionality (see APA statement that specifically names intersectionality).


American Anthropological Association. 1998. “Statement on Race.” Washington, DC. Last accessed on 08/15/10 at

American Association of Physical Anthropologists. 1996. AAPA Statement on Biological Aspects of Race, American Journal of Physical Anthropology, (101):569-570. Last accessed on 08/15/10 at

American Psychological Association. 2002. Guidelines on Multicultural Education, Training, Research, Practice, and Organizational Change for Psychologists- Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. Last accessed on 8/15/10 at

American Sociological Association. 2003. The Importance of Collecting Data and Doing Social Scientific Research on Race.  Washington, DC: American Sociological Association. Last accessed on 8/15/10 at

Additional Statements regarding the
Executive Order on "Combating Race & Sex Sterotyping"

American Historical Association

AHA Statement on the recent
"White House Conference on American History"

American Educational Research Association
Statement in Support of Anti-Racist Education

National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education
NADOHE Statement of DEI Training




Statement from the Division for Equity and Inclusion regarding George Floyd and Police Brutality

(MAY 30, 2020) - DEI finds the actions of the officers who killed Mr. George Floyd unconscionable and we denounce police brutality against communities of color. Further we are aware of and condemn white nationalist groups that are taking cover behind legitimate national protests concerning George Floyd & police brutality, to incite violence against black businesses and civil society.

We call on chiefs of police nationally to condemn the actions of the officers who killed Mr. George Floyd and to renounce practices of police brutality against Black communities and other marginalized folk. As well, we call on police departments at universities and in communities to require diversity education and to require a demonstrated commitment to diversity and inclusion as essential criteria for hiring and promotion.

Below we provide the transcript of an interview with Miami Police Chief Jorge Colina who has called on statements of condemnation against the actions of those responsible for killing Mr. George Floyd, as Chief Colina said, “not [just] from community leaders, not [just] from mayors or governors, no, from law enforcement …leadership,… so officers can hear that message and understand…”.

 Interview by Joy Reid, AM Joy 30 May 2020 MSNBC, 9am MT

Joy Reid from MSNBC says, “it is not surprising that the demonstrations have been extremely angry. … How do police police people who are angry because of that cruelty?” She asks how can police departments expect the Black community to comply with curfews and to work with them to quell violence incited by white nationalists who are using peaceful Black protestors as cover.

 Response from Miami Chief of Police Jorge Colina: It is not impossible, we have to keep working at it. The first thing that happens is that there needs to be is an united voice from law enforcement, not [just] from community leaders not [just] the mayors or governors. No, from Law enforcement coming out and saying this is horrific. Open your eyes and look at what happened here. There is no excusing it. There is no, “well what happened beforehand. What’s his criminal history. What prompted this action” Nothing justifies that. And that needs to be said. And it needs to be said outloud. So the officers from the leadership on down the officers can hear that message and understand it is your job to say, “don’t do that! It is unacceptable. Please stop it.” And when the community sees that this voice is being heard and you’re being proactive on the law enforcement side, then we can start that process of starting to regain some trust. but if we don’t do that, and historically we are terrible at communicating. If we don’t do that, this is going to continue. It’s got to start from police leadership and push down to every officer on the street. You can’t be afraid to speak up.”

Assata Zerai, Ph.D.
Vice President for Equity and Inclusion 
University of New Mexico 

Links to Press and Campus and Community Statements 

Statement from UNM
President Stokes and & 
UNM Police Chief Kevin McCabe 

Statement from UNM African American Student Services


Statement from
UNM Athletics 

Statement from UNM Chicana/Chicano Studies


Statement from
UNM Department of Sociology


Statement from 
UNM Health Sciences Center Core Leadership 

Statement from 
UNM History Department

Statement from UNM Office of Equal Opportunity


UNM Staff Support Statement


Mayor Keller and City Officials Denounce Racism and Address Incident at an Albuquerque Protest

Article: Mural of George Floyd 


Statement from VP for Equity and Inclusion Dr. Assata Zerai regarding threats against Dr. Charles Becknell, Jr., Director of Africana Studies

(MAY 4, 2020) - At UNM, as Lobos each of us defines all of us. So when statements of hate and threats of physical harm are made against one in our pack, we stand resolute to communicate our inclusive values and that we will not tolerate such assaults against one of our own.

As VPEI, I was greatly distressed to learn that Dr. Charles Becknell, Jr, Director of Africana Studies was recently sent threats against his person. There is a long history of threats and intimidation against people of color, and specifically African Americans in the United States. At UNM, we declare that anti-blackness will not gain a foothold.

We urge anyone who has received any offensive communications via e-mail or in person to reach out to the UNM PD and OEO and fill out a hate bias incident report at

Reports can be made anonymously and are investigated fully. 

UNM has confidential reporting sites for students, staff, and faculty who may not be sure if they wish to proceed with an OEO report or if their concern warrants an OEO report. Confidential advocates can be reached at:, or

During this unprecedented time, many are facing challenges due to incidents of micro aggressions and racial bias and we urge individuals report to the agencies noted above and to visit the newly developed to access resources and support.

For those in the community who wish to understand more about the heightened climate concerns during COVID-19, we encourage you to tune into our DEI webinar series. DEI has also worked with constituency groups to develop a list of guidelines for establishing policy during COVID-19. These are displayed on the University COVID-19 website.

In the meantime, we want the UNM community to know that we greatly value Dr. Becknell and that we stand with him, and the Africana Studies community.

Best wishes.

Assata Zerai, Ph.D.
Vice President for Equity and Inclusion 
University of New Mexico 


Links to Press and Campus and Community Statements in Support of Africana Studies

President Stokes 

Provost's Academic Dispatch

UNM Black Faculty Alliance Statement on the Criminal Act of antiBlack Racist Terrorism against Dr. Charles Becknell, Jr., and the Program of Africana Studies


College of Arts and Sciences

Chicana/Chicano Studies and supporters


UNM College of the University Libraries and Learning Sciences on the Criminal act of anti-Black Racis Terrorism against 
Dr. Charles Becknell, the Africana Studies Program, and the University Libraries

UNM School of Law Faculty Letter of Support


UNM Staff Council

College of Education

College of Population Health

First Congregational United Church of Christ


Black Lawyers Association

FBI asked to investigate racist threats against UNM program director, ABQ Journal