In One State, the Diversity Industry Is Under Attack

South Dakota’s legislature is considering a bill that would require the state’s universities to protect free speech and intellectual diversity. In that connection, some lawmakers have taken aim at the diversity industry:

Several Republican lawmakers who were behind a bill to require the state’s university system to promote intellectual diversity are questioning the size, role and cost of diversity offices.

The lawmakers, which include the House and Senate leadership, sent a letter to the South Dakota Board of Regents this month ahead of a June 26 meeting in which the Regents will consider how to implement the new intellectual diversity law, which takes effect July 1. …

The letter questions whether diversity offices are a hindrance to intellectual diversity because the diversity offices promote left-wing ideology.

“While beneficial programs for Native American students, and students of other diverse cultures should be preserved, the build-up of diversity offices which are used to promote social justice causes associated with the political left such as safe zone training, the biannual drag show, and social justice training, to name just a few, should be dismantled,” the lawmakers write.

The lawmakers estimate that diversity offices employ 31 people and cost nearly $6 million a year.

One of the bill’s sponsors, Sue Peterson, points out that Native Americans are South Dakota’s biggest minority group, and the money spent on diversity doesn’t seem to be helping those students:

Rep. Sue Peterson, a sponsor of the intellectual diversity bill and one of the lawmakers who signed the letter, said diversity offices appear to be promoting ideology. Meanwhile, Native Americans, the state’s largest minority group, are struggling to graduate.

“Whatever they’re spending on the diversity offices, it isn’t making a very good impact,” said Peterson, a Sioux Falls Republican.

The executive director of the Board of Regents claims that “the role of diversity offices is to prepare students to work among other cultures. Businesses that recruit students want employees who can be sent anywhere in the world and adjust to different cultures.” But Rep. Peterson isn’t buying it:

Peterson, who reviewed reports from university diversity offices, said she found references about social justice training, safe zone training and references to diversity officials overseeing university hiring practices.

“I’m not seeing anything from those offices that is helping students work in multi-national corporations,” she said.

It would be great if South Dakota becomes the first state to fight back, in a serious way, against the diversity czars who have so distorted the mission of our universities.

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