Idaho’s Legislature on Monday rejected the state’s higher education budget, blaming diversity initiatives at Boise State University for the rebuke to the state’s public institutions, the Idaho Statesman reported.
The newspaper said 27 lawmakers signed on to a July 2019 letter from a Republican lawmaker in which she criticized diversity programs at the university, linking them to tuition increases. However, the state’s four-year universities, including Boise State, had announced tuition freezes for next year.
One Republican lawmaker who signed the letter said he had a problem with the leftward lean of the universities’ “bureaucracy,” the newspaper reported.
He also said the Legislature should have a say in the universities’ hiring and curricula.
“I can’t imagine the number of vice provosts that must have been hired by these universities when we’re talking about equality and inclusion instead of reading, writing and arithmetic,” said State Representative Vito Barbieri. “We’ve got to figure out a way to stop rubber-stamping these budgets and begin to send the message that we do have a say on what is taught and we do have a say on who they are hiring, for what purposes they are hiring.”