This week, the Idaho House of Representatives decisively rejected (13-57) Senate Bill 1179, which would have allocated $631.4 million to Idaho’s public university system. Senate Bill 1179 imposed a minor fiscal sanction on Idaho’s public universities as a consequence of their continued support, despite repeated warning from state legislators, for the radical, illiberal, anti-American ideology of social justice education, which combines a toxic brew of Critical Race Theory, neo-Marxism, and pseudo-science. The House determined that the Senate Bill did not impose sufficient fiscal sanctions and would fail to secure real education reform by Idaho’s universities.
I, and my colleagues at the National Association of Scholars, agree with the judgment of the Idaho House. As Scott Yenor and Anna Miller have shown in their excellent reports for the Idaho Freedom Foundation on the University of Idaho and Boise State University, Idaho’s public universities (as virtually all American colleges and universities) have subordinated education to mandatory, costly social justice indoctrination via mandatory diversity, inclusion, and equity (DIE) training and curricular requirements. The higher education establishment will not reverse course until they are threatened with severe and immediate financial consequences. The Idaho House’s measure is justified and necessary.
The higher education establishment has set up a game of chicken with the Idaho public: Give us money or your children won’t get educated. If Idaho students do suffer, the responsibility will fall entirely on the higher education establishment, which refuses to relinquish its attachment to so-called “social justice education.” That said, further reforms would aid Idaho’s legislators in conducting their battle with the higher education establishment more efficiently. The most effective would be a law to allow legislators to exercise a line-item veto on higher education expenditures. Idaho’s legislators should have the ability to remove those individual administrative and faculty components dedicated to social justice indoctrination rather than education, especially contracts for “diversity” consultants and instructors.
We make this recommendation aware that legislation to put this into practice would have to harmonize with the need to protect academic freedom, tenure protections, and employees’ contractual rights. We are confident that Idaho’s legislative draftsmen can do this.
Until further such reform legislation is in place, the Idaho House has acted properly to reject a global grant of taxpayer funds to Idaho’s public universities. They should cut the Idaho higher education budget by as much as is necessary to convince Idaho’s college administrators that they must cease imposing their personal political goals on Idaho’s public universities.