OSU Committed to Diversity, Racial Equity and Bias Work Despite Federal Executive Order

To: Members of the OSU Community

From: F. King Alexander, President

October 6, 2020

Members of the OSU community,

I am writing regarding a recent U.S. Presidential Executive Order that prohibits recipients of federal contracts and grants from engaging in training of certain concepts related to implicit bias, structural racism and other social justice topics.

I understand that many of you are deeply concerned about this Executive Order or news of a federal investigation of statements made by Princeton University’s president regarding combatting institutional racism. 

I want you to know that I and all university leaders share your concerns. We are evaluating the Executive Order’s scope and the university’s options regarding the order. 

OSU remains fully committed to the important work and discussion taking place throughout the university regarding diversity, racial equity, bias, inclusion and social justice. In these times of national and local reckoning on these matters, it is more critical than ever that the OSU community continue to engage in education, discussion and action regarding historical and current systems of racism, oppression, privilege and implicit bias, and increase understanding of the lived experiences of university faculty, staff, students and community members.

On behalf of the nation’s higher education community, the American Council on Education recently sent a letter to the U.S. Secretary of Education expressing concern over a federal investigation of Princeton for social justice commitments and statements of admitted racism. I agree fully with ACE President Ted Mitchell, who in reference to Princeton University case, urged the U.S. Department of Education “to end this misguided effort and not use the power of the federal government to investigate schools that are trying to build a better, more inclusive America.”

While OSU explores its options regarding the Executive Order in the coming weeks, I ask that you continue to engage in the essential diversity, equity and inclusion work occurring through the university.

I will update the university community further about this Executive Order as additional information becomes available.


F. King Alexander