SD Regents pres.: I will investigate campus diversity offices for left-leaning bias

Conservative lawmakers in South Dakota sent a letter to the Board of Regents, slamming the campus diversity offices for promoting “social justice causes.”

Now, the Board of Regents president is opening an investigation into the offices.

The president of the South Dakota Board of Regents has revealed that he will investigate diversity offices on college campuses in the state to see if they are pushing a liberal agenda.

Kevin Schieffer revealed the opening of an inquiry into campus diversity offices in a guest column for Aberdeen News.

The letter comes a month after conservative lawmakers in the state sent a letter to the Board of Regents, slamming the campus diversity offices for promoting “social justice causes,” and even threatening to slash funding for the offices, as Campus Reform reported.

[RELATED: SD lawmakers put ‘diversity offices’ on blast: ‘Taxpayers...would not approve’]

“It is our hope that the Diversity Offices and related programming will make the proper shift,” the lawmakers said in that letter. “However, if the current trend continues and Diversity Offices are not reformed...the legislature may be forced to explore options such as Tennessee has adopted that remove funding for these offices all together.”

Schiffer responded to the letter, saying that he opposes “eliminating or slashing” funding for the centers, but wrote that the centers should not push extreme agendas. 

“We support suggestions 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,” the Board of Regents president said. “We will explore that in greater detail and issue a separate report on our findings and actions. We oppose eliminating or slashing diversity centers’ funding, however.”

[RELATED: CSU students stage die-in to demand lower tuition, diversity funding]

The Republican lawmakers wrote in their June letter that diversity offices at South Dakota public universities will be allocated $5.9 million for FY 2019.

Schieffer did not seem too open to the letter’s suggestion that more conservatives be hired at the diversity offices.

“We oppose proposals that would require ideological testing during faculty hiring or promotion. That would be destructively chilling. We care how teachers teach, not how they vote,” Schieffer wrote.

While seeming to oppose specifically hiring more conservatives, Schieffer did seem open to creating policies that make sure students get an objective education.

“We will implement measures to ensure students receive a balanced presentation of ideological perspectives and provide student protections against being punished for contrary beliefs,” he wrote.

[RELATED: Feds pay $8M+ to promote ‘diversity’ in STEM]

Schieffer wrote that students support diversity and free speech “but oppose being forced to fund disruptions by media-starved extremists.” 

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