Ray Carter | April 18, 2023
OU says DEI to ‘permeate’ business school
Via the school’s website, officials at the University of Oklahoma vow that “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion” (DEI) programming will now “permeate” business-school programs.
OU’s website states that Gary Jones, who was appointed this year as director of Diversity and Inclusion at OU’s Price College of Business, will serve “as the primary resource within Price to instill and permeate DEI into all programs, activities, policies, and processes.”
Prior to being hired at OU, Jones served as the director of institutional diversity at Oklahoma Christian University.
OU’s focus on DEI programming in a business-school setting far exceeds the norm in colleges across the nation, according to OU officials.
The Office of Diversity and Inclusion was officially established at the Michael F. Price College of Business in the fall of 2015.
The university boasts that “this move puts Price College among the limited number of major business colleges across the country that have a designated ‘Office of Diversity and Inclusion.’ Many schools have diversity and inclusion offices that focus on initiatives or conferences, but very few have a designated office. Furthermore, less than 10 major business undergraduate colleges have a designated physical space and fully operational staff that oversee diversity and inclusion efforts of the business college.”
A December 2022 report by the Heritage Foundation on DEI programs noted, “At the heart of these multi-billion-dollar efforts—both public and philanthropic—are certain key assumptions: America is systemically racist; white America harbors unconscious racism; and equal rights, meritocracy, and the law itself reinforce a regime of white supremacy. Most of DEI’s practices violate the Constitution and the Civil Rights Act.”
“University DEI staff are better understood as political activists with a narrow and often radical political agenda rather than promoters of welcoming and inclusive environments.” —Heritage Foundation scholars Jay P. Greene and James D. Paul
The DEI industry has also been associated, broadly, with fostering hostile attitudes towards specific groups based on ancestry or ethnicity.
In a December 2021 backgrounder released by the Heritage Foundation, researchers reviewed the Twitter feeds of 741 DEI personnel at 65 universities to find their public communications regarding Israel and China.
That review found DEI staff tweeted, retweeted, or liked almost three times as many tweets about Israel as tweets about China, and that 96 percent of tweets about Israel were critical while 62 percent of tweets about China were favorable.
“The evidence presented in this Backgrounder demonstrates that university DEI staff are better understood as political activists with a narrow and often radical political agenda rather than promoters of welcoming and inclusive environments,” the researchers concluded. “Many DEI staff are particularly unwelcoming toward Jewish students who, like the vast majority of Jews worldwide, feel a strong connection to the state of Israel. The political activism of DEI staff may help explain the rising frequency of antisemitic incidents on college campuses as well as the association between college and graduate education and higher levels of antisemitic attitudes. Rather than promoting diversity and inclusion, universities may be contributing to an increase in anti-Jewish hatred by expanding DEI staff and power.”
A recent report, “Ranking the 50 State Public University Systems on Prices & Outcomes,” by Preston Cooper, a research fellow at the Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity (FREOPP), found that Oklahoma’s median return on investment for undergraduate programs was lower than the return generated by Texas and Kansas colleges and universities.
The report also found that 23.9 percent of undergraduate programs at Oklahoma’s public colleges and universities produce a negative return on investment.
The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education has asked lawmakers to provide an additional $105 million in state taxpayer funding this year to state colleges, including OU.
[For more stories about higher education in Oklahoma, visit AimHigherOK.com.]
Director, Center for Independent Journalism
Ray Carter is the director of OCPA’s Center for Independent Journalism. He has two decades of experience in journalism and communications. He previously served as senior Capitol reporter for The Journal Record, media director for the Oklahoma House of Representatives, and chief editorial writer at The Oklahoman. As a reporter for The Journal Record, Carter received 12 Carl Rogan Awards in four years—including awards for investigative reporting, general news reporting, feature writing, spot news reporting, business reporting, and sports reporting. While at The Oklahoman, he was the recipient of several awards, including first place in the editorial writing category of the Associated Press/Oklahoma News Executives Carl Rogan Memorial News Excellence Competition for an editorial on the history of racism in the Oklahoma legislature.