Idaho’s post-secondary schools have joined the legion of left-leaning institutions that are using their campuses as state-sponsored platforms for intolerance, division, and victimhood. Hurt in the process are students, taxpayers, and donors to college scholarship funds, all whom are misled in believing they’re paying for “higher education.”
Witness Boise State University’s interim president, Martin Schimpf, whose most recent newsletter offered up a buffet of braggadocio about the school’s reinforcement of the “otherization” of students and staff. Schimpf noted the school’s expenditure of thousands of dollars for “Rainbow Graduation” and “Black Graduation,” new staff to aid “students of color,” and more. (FYI: “Black graduation” isn’t “segregation” because they don’t call it that. Instead, college elites call it “personalization”).
Schimpf also wrote that the State Board of Education “has invited DACA students to apply for Opportunity Scholarship Funds.” The State Board of Education replied that it had never issued such an invitation, and a university spokesman later clarified that what the president meant was that DACA students may be among the Idaho high school students eligible for scholarships, although no other group of students was identified in that portion of the newsletter.
Schimpf wrote that BSU also hopes to add an employee to serve as an “American Indian Liaison” and BSU is gathering data “on the diversity of individual departments and position classifications to identify those that are particularly deficient when it comes to diversity of their employees.”
“Search pools now undergo statistical analysis for assessing the number of underrepresented candidates in the pool,” he said. “When appropriate, search efforts are extended in order to increase the diversity of the candidate pool.” You’d think that Boise State would want to hire the best employees for its students, not pander to leftist ideologues with radical views of “inclusivity.”
Schimpf is on his way out, replaced by Dr. Marlene Tromp. It’s unknown whether Tromp will deploy the same condescending rhetoric, but the fact that she has described herself in interviews as motivated by “social justice” makes one wonder.
Regardless, Boise State is not alone in its effort to institutionalize a campus culture of amplified divisions in which people are sorted neatly into stereotypes and boxes, tagged as long-suffering victims that must be shielded from the world’s awaiting injustices. The University of Idaho, for example, has an “LBGTQA office,” whose mission it is to “work together to eliminate homophobia, heterosexism and gender identity oppression.” This is what the Left calls “woke.”
Each year, Idaho’s colleges and universities cry poverty, and each year, lawmakers and the State Board of Education respond with more money from taxpayers and higher tuition from students. One would hope the money would be spent to improve learning and graduation rates. Instead, the schools dedicate ever increasing funds on new ways to pander to the lexicon of identity politics and to enforce the self-marginalization of students and staff.
Idaho’s college campuses should be welcoming places for all students and employees, of all backgrounds. Full stop. Campuses should have a laser focus on the unifying, shared desire of students who want to advance their careers and earn their degrees. There should be no tolerance for policies or expenditures that cater to the culture of victimhood, which is becoming all too common on campuses throughout the country.
Written by Wayne Hoffman, executive director of the Idaho Freedom Foundation.