OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Diversity programs are on the political chopping block after lawmakers call for them to be disbanded at state colleges and universities.
Two Republicans, Representative JJ Humphrey and Senator Rob Standridge, filed a resolution “to defund any state-funded institutions of higher education that do not immediately eliminate Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) from every vestige of their institution.”
Humphrey, R-Lane, said the programs are not about diversity but instead about division.
“They’re slanted towards, that if you’re Conservative you’re evil, if you’re of Christian value you’re evil, if you have moral values you’re evil and again I just disagree with that,” said Humphrey.
He says he doesn’t mind colleges and universities promoting diversity.
“I think they can vocally put advertisement that say inclusive and that racism is not tolerated,” said Humphrey.
But he said it goes too far when it is added into curriculum.
“You gotta teach everybody on how to include everybody, that’s horse s***,” said Humphrey.
Earlier this year, Governor Stitt asked for a reduction in DEI officers on college campuses.
Now he supports the resolution filed by Humphrey.
“I think it’s nonsense. Why are we spending tax payer dollars on this stuff,” said Stitt, during his weekly press conference.
At OU, the Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion was started after a few incidents of students using racial slurs in chant and other students wearing blackface.
Both incidents made for embarrassing national headlines.
Governor Stitt said tax-payer dollars don’t need to support inclusive education and an entire diversity division.
“You’re going to have things that are gonna happen, we’re going to punish those bad actors, and we’re gonna move on,” said Stitt.
However, the diversity division is not just about race, and teaching kids about inclusivity.
The Trio Center serves “students from disadvantaged backgrounds to include low income, first generation college, veteran students and students with disabilities.”
Representative Trish Ranson, D-Stillwater, said DEI programs help students for life after school.
“Our major employers have DEI initiatives as well. How are we setting up our graduates for success later on in life,” said Ranson.
She is appalled at the flippant attitude towards diversity and inclusive programs and education.
“We have the Oklahoma Standard – the Oklahoma standard is treating others the way we want to be treated. And DEI is a big piece of that,” said Ranson.
Back in February, Allision Garrett, Chancellor for Higher Education, released data showing that spending on DEI programs accounted for less than one percent of state expenditures on higher education in the past decade.
Representative Monroe Nichols, D-Tulsa, released a statement Friday afternoon talking about the importance of diversity for all Oklahomans.
“Diversity is what makes America the shining light around the world. The attacks in this resolution are not only economically irresponsible, they are un-American. This state and this country are better off because of diversity, and we are stronger when we champion equity. We are better because of those who fight for inclusion in the face of others who prefer the division, inequity, and hate of the past. With this resolution, it is clear which camp the authors choose to align themselves with, and that is unfortunate,” said Nichols, chair of the Oklahoma Legislative Black Caucus.