In a recent commentary, former BSU President
Bob Kustra attempted to deflect scrutiny from the university’s radical
diversity agenda by comparing it to corporate diversity programs.
Kustra’s analogy misleads on two fronts,
however. First, BSU’s agenda is so extreme, no business would replicate it,
making the comparison a smokescreen. Second, while corporations do promote
diversity, mandates forcing diversity
are counterproductive, further undercutting Kustra’s point.
Kustra held up examples from several Idaho
corporations, including Albertsons,
Simplot, Micron, Idaho Power, and Boise Cascade. Though I don’t represent any
of these companies, I did work at Boise Cascade from 2000 to 2014. I agree with
Kustra when he said the company has a stated commitment to “maintaining a
diversified workforce by encouraging the hiring of minorities, women,
individuals with disabilities and veterans.” But encouraging a diverse
workforce is radically different from what BSU does.
Here is a partial list of the initiatives
BSU’s Interim President Schimpf highlighted in a recent letter (Find Schimpf’s
letter at http://bit.ly/BSUletter):
Invited illegal immigrants to apply for Opportunity Scholarships, when in
fiscal year 2018 nearly 1,800 qualified Idahoans were turned away.
● Implied that BSU is not hiring the right people: “The university revised its search committee
training curriculum to include a section on identifying and addressing implicit
bias in hiring decisions.”
● Implied that merit be subordinated to a diversity agenda: “Search pools now undergo statistical analysis for assessing the number of underrepresented candidates in the pool. When appropriate, search efforts are extended in order to increase the diversity of the candidate pool.”
● Adopted an entirely new lexicon of terms
to address students: “We’ve implemented an option in our student system that
allows students to use their ‘preferred name’ instead of their legal name, and
recently vetted the addition of new pronouns in the system with the faculty
senate. In the fall we will develop training for faculty and staff on how to
utilize the new pronouns.”
These are but a fraction of BSU’s long list of
left-wing social justice initiatives.
Kustra suggesting that Idaho-based corporations would enact many policies in
this radical playbook, such as openly encouraging illegal immigrants to apply
for work, hiring candidates specifically based on minority status, or rewriting
pronouns? While Kustra looks to corporate diversity commitments, they differ so
much from BSU’s agenda as to be largely irrelevant.
response to Schimpf’s letter, 28 Republican legislators wisely and with a
measured tone suggested that the university focus on academic excellence, not
categorize students in a divisive manner by race, ethnicity, and gender. They
also called on the university to make itself more affordable.
to cover his tracks, Kustra doesn’t mention tuition, but under his tenure, it
increased 137%. This at a time when the consumer price index was up only 37%.
Maybe Kustra will use his next column to blame the 28 legislators for the
Idaho is a welcoming state for new people and new businesses. After all, the Idaho Way is to treat everyone fairly, whether on campus or the job site. But when institutions—whether corporations or colleges—artificially engineer inclusion, they drive people further apart.
Note: The Idaho Statesman first published this commentary on August 5, 2019.
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