EXCLUSIVE: UCincinnati President encourages students to contact legislators to protect mandated DEI courses

In an email obtained by Campus Reform, University of Cincinnati President Neville Pinto criticizes pending Ohio legislation that would restrict DEI on its campus.

The president asks students to use personal email addresses instead of those by the university when contacting lawmakers about DEI restrictions.

In a May 18 email addressed to the university community, University of Cincinnati President Neville Pinto writes that Ohio bill SB 83—which would prohibit state universities from requiring students to take Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion classes—is an example of “government overreach.” 

The bill would also require that state universities” affirm and declare a primary function to the pursuit of knowledge” and “demonstrate intellectual diversity for course approval.”

“Our concerns are many with this legislation, and the university and our counterparts around the state as well as the IUC will continue our advocacy regarding the bill’s impact on higher education and the State of Ohio overall,” reads the email obtained by Campus Reform.

”The bill will next be considered by the House. If you would like to contact your local legislator, please use your personal contact information and email rather than those of the university. To find up-to-date Ohio General Assembly contact information you can visit the Ohio Legislature website.”

Pinto’s email cites a publicly-available letter written on May 16 to SB 83 sponsor Senator Jerry Cirino. The letter, written by Inter-University Council of Ohio (IUC) President Laura Lanese, implores Cirino to consider the benefits that DEI brings to the student body. 

“Importantly, the presidents shared serious concerns over the prohibition of diversity, equity and inclusion [DEI] programming and the potential eroding of shared governance on campuses,” Neville writes.

Among the shared concerns explained in the letter, we believe this legislation amounts to ‘government overreach’ that will create ‘unnecessary bureaucracy, duplication of programs, and increased costs,’” Pinto continues, before asserting that limits on legal limits on DEI are a violation of the First Amendment.

[RELATED: Desantis blocks taxpayer-funded DEI programs] 

“Data shows, DEI efforts help create an academic community that generates a higher enrollment rate, matriculation rate, and eventual success rate,” the letter says. “DEI helps more students achieve the American Dream of success via a college education.” 

In another defense, the letter says that prohibiting DEI would put students at a disadvantage in the workforce because it would prevent students from learning how to work in a diverse environment. 

Previous analysis from Campus Reform suggests that focus DEI actually puts students at a disadvantage, as schools focused on DEI have failed to prepare students for the workforce post-university. Now, companies are stepping in and partnering with universities to achieve this goal. 

[RELATED: ‘There is a culture of fear and silence’: Leftist professor rethinks bureaucracy] 

The IUC letter also addresses teacher tenure. “We appreciate your recognition of tenure not only for its role in keeping Ohio competitive in recruiting world-class faculty, but also for the importance of protecting free speech,” the letter reads. 

It also says that “...We appreciate that you took to heart the expertise of the presidents and did not draft a bill that eliminates tenure.” 

However, according to Higher Ed Drive, SB 83 would still target professor tenure, but to a limited extent. The bill will mandate “performance reviews” for all professors—including those that have tenure status. 

Campus Reform contacted all relevant parties for comment. This article will be updated accordingly. 

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