Tuesday, August 14, 2018

OCPA column: OU hire should respect Oklahomans

OU hire should respect Oklahomans
by Jonathan Small
President of the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs (OCPA)

The University of Oklahoma is kicking off a national search for an associate vice president of university community.

“We can and must do more to ensure a diverse and inclusive community,” says OU president James Gallogly.

At a time when the cultural left believes it holds title to the phrases “university community” and “diversity,” here’s hoping this new hire will be different.

You’ll recall that Gallogly—obviously aware that Oklahoma taxpayers don’t place a high priority on government subsidies to higher education—went on the record early “to say to our legislature and our governor, we will be excellent stewards.” That’s smart.

After all, this is a state in which political-correctness foe Donald Trump got 65 percent of the vote. He won 77 of 77 counties. And yet last year, OU thought it was a good idea to bring to campus a radical leftist, Harry Belafonte, who had described the Trump presidency as “the Fourth Reich” and who has suggested that black Republicans such as Condoleezza Rice are race traitors or house slaves.

Indeed, many citizens aren’t aware how far left OU has drifted. Former president David Boren actually announced that “hate speech” (whatever that is) should be reported to the OU police department.

At a campus protest of Donald Trump, OU’s former diversity czar praised “the ability of people to overcome hate,” thereby impugning the motives of the vast majority of Oklahomans who voted for the current President.

OU now requires “diversity training” for new students. Political scientist Greg Forster called OU’s training “a horrifying recital of coercive tactics, clearly designed not to educate students about diversity (which would be valuable) so much as to manipulate, threaten, and control them so they don’t think the wrong things.”

Orwell would also be pleased with OU’s “bias response” hotline, which allows members of the university community to anonymously inform on their neighbors.

All this in addition to the tax-funded social-justice warriors marbled through the bureaucracy and the various grievance-studies departments.

Is it any wonder the Pew Research Center found last year that an astounding 65 percent of conservative Republicans believe “colleges and universities are having a negative effect on the way things are going in the country”?

OU’s new hire must cherish and defend students’ First Amendment rights to think and speak freely on campus.

He or she must never forget that the “university community” includes fraternities and the Baptist Student Union and ROTC and Turning Point USA and any number of other organizations.

He or she must celebrate diversity.

Jonathan Small serves as president of the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs


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