Despite new free speech institute, university faces sustained criticism over 'social justice' spending

The president of Boise State University met with the Idaho State Board of Education to discuss budget proposals following a contentious Jan. 25 meeting with the state legislature's Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee.

Boise State opened its 'Institute for Advancing American Values' last summer.

The president of Boise State University, Dr. Marlene Tromp, met with the Idaho State Board of Education Feb. 17 to discuss budget proposals following a contentious Jan. 25 meeting with the state legislature’s Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee about social justice programs on campus.

Tromp was “grilled” last month by State Representative Ron Nate over her institution’s spending on social justice initiatives after state lawmakers had cut $1.5 million from Boise State University to decrease “wasteful spending” on diversity, equity, and inclusion programs.

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Despite Tromp’s insistence that the school was trying to be more mindful of its spending on social justice programs, Rep. Nate was not satisfied. He pointed out that the university’s sociology department’s new Anti-Racism Center. 

Campus Reform covered the budget cut in June 2021, as well as Boise State’s creation of the “Institute for Advancing American Values.”

But last week, the Education board President Kurt Liebich and board member Linda Clark praised Tromp for aligning Boise State’s goals and spending with the State Board’s K-20 strategic plan, a “student-centered education system that creates opportunities for all Idahoans to improve their quality of life.” 

[RELATED: University of Washington spends $5 million on ‘diversity initiative’ for faculty members]

Nevertheless, Nate pushed last year for a $17 million budget decrease for Boise State and recently confirmed to Campus Reform that he does not support any spending on social justice initiatives. 

”correct, No spending on social justice programming/activism,” Nate wrote in an email to Campus Reform. 

Campus Reform reached out to Marlene Tromp and Boise State University for comment. This article will be updated accordingly.

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