South Dakota recently passed HB 1087, a bill requiring intellectual diversity in public universities. The National Association of Scholars has supported this effort and testified about ways to put this bill into practice. One part of our recommendation was that South Dakota's Board of Regents should work to reduce as much as possible the size of the diversity bureaucracies. Board of Regents President Kevin V. Schieffer now writes that the Board plans a more modest initial reform: to scrutinize diversity bureaucracies for "extreme ideological agendas," but to leave them in place. The NAS believes more thorough measures to restrict the size and powers of diversity bureaucracies are necessary, but we welcome President Schieffer's decision. The NAS congratulates both him and the Board of Regents as a whole.
Below is the letter NAS President Peter Wood has written to President Schieffer.
July 23, 2019
Kevin V. Schieffer
South Dakota Board of Regents
306 E. Capital Ave, Ste. 200
Pierre, SD 57501
Dear President Schieffer,
I write to express the National Association of Scholars’ support for your decision “to ensure that existing university diversity centers are balanced and focused on promoting and enhancing cultural diversity, and that they are not pushing excess liberal or extreme ideological agendas.” (“Schieffer: Intellectual diversity — moving SD universities forward,” Aberdeen News, July 17, 2019.)
The NAS stands staunchly against the politicization of the academy, and we applaud your work to do the same. Diversity bureaucracies nationwide, including in South Dakota, are deeply rooted in extreme ideological agendas, as NAS has documented for well over a decade. Yet the NAS supports attempts to reform diversity bureaucracies. If they prove successful, we are glad to learn from what works. While we will continue to press for more thoroughgoing actions against diversity bureaucracies nationwide, and in South Dakota, we welcome your initial action and wish you all success in the endeavor. If we can be of any assistance, please don’t hesitate to reach out.
Peter W. Wood
National Association of Scholars