OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Republican state legislators filed a resolution Thursday to halt state funding for institutions of higher education that ‘do not immediately eliminate Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) from every vestige of their institution.’
Senate Concurrent Resolution 12 would direct state-funded Oklahoma universities and colleges to immediately discontinue and disband their DEI programs in whole or lose state funds.
Two bills were filed this session similar to this resolution, but neither made it passed committee.
“If our universities and colleges funded all or in part by the hard work of Oklahomans do not immediately eliminate every bit of DEI within their institutions their funding should be cut and all investments made by taxpayers on their campuses should be repossessed to be used by an alternative education entity that will respect the beliefs and principles of those who pay for such,” resolution co-author Sen. Rob Standridge, R-Norman, said.
In February, State Superintendent Ryan Walters asked for a 10-year report on DEI spending from colleges and universities in Oklahoma.
The report came back to highlight less than 1 percent of the entire education budget was spent on such programs and trainings.
“Our colleges are constantly discriminating against, shaming and shunning any students that do not tow the DEI and leftist line,” resolution co-author Rep. Justin Humphrey, R-Lane, said.
According to the Chancellor at the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, DEI training is a requirement for the fields “in-demand.”
The letter from Chancellor Allison Garrett sent to Ryan Walters in February stated that nursing, engineering, education, and business degree programs receive accreditation that requires DEI training.
“It is important to note that there are certain laws that require diversity, equity, and inclusion practices, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act,” said Garrett, in the letter.
Governor Stitt called for less diversity officers in his State of the State address earlier this year.
In April, the Oklahoma State Department of Education passed a rule to require all Oklahoma superintendents to change how they are handling any Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion programs.
Earlier this week KFOR reported that Superintendent of Public Instruction Ryan Walters says the department will only apply for grants that align with “Oklahoma values.”
The Oklahoma State Department of Education received $3 billion in federal grants this year.
A spokesperson for Walters says the department will continue to reapply for grants and are going after new grants for school safety.
The spokesperson also says they have applied for grants worth $13 million.
In the Tulsa World article, a former grant writer for the department said the current administration has yet to apply for any grants.
She warned the state would actually lose money and some programs could be canceled unless lawmakers use state money to cover the costs.