Oklahoma Republicans threaten funding for school diversity programs
(KTEN) — Two Oklahoma Republican lawmakers have proposed that the state pull funding from some campuses of higher education if they don't cut particular programs.
State Rep. Justin Humphrey (R-District 19) and Sen. Rob Standridge (R-District 15) filed a resolution calling for universities to eliminate diversity, equity, and inclusion programs or risk losing funding from the state.
"Colleges should be a place where you open up your mind to all ideals and you make up your mind based on the evidence," Humphrey said. "It's not, 'we're gonna tell you how to think and you're gonna think like us, or else you're evil, or you're a hater.'"
Senate Resolution 12 claims that DEI is being used to "discriminate, shun, and shame those who do not walk in lockstep with its woke ideology."
Humphrey said courses that include DEI in their curriculums are doing the opposite of what they claim.
"These are classes that really, in my opinion, do not teach diversity and do not teach equality, and do not teach inclusion. They teach division; they teach disruption," he said.
The Southeastern Oklahoma State University Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee is charged with integrating these values into the university's planning processes. In a statement on its website, the school explains, in part:
"We acknowledge that a quality university experience must provide students with opportunities to become culturally competent citizens well prepared for the global workplace. As a university, we are committed to creating an engaging and inclusive environment for a diverse student body and equipping them to take an active role in building a more equitable and pluralistic society through academic achievement, campus involvement, and service.
Murray State College has a similar office.
While resolutions do not have the same power as laws, if both the Senate and House sign off on it, it will stand as the official opinion of the Oklahoma Legislature.