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HomeNewsGov. Kevin Stitt Gives DEI the Boots in Oklahoma Universities

Gov. Kevin Stitt Gives DEI the Boots in Oklahoma Universities

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Last week in Oklahoma, Gov. Kevin Stitt signed an executive order that eliminates every state office solely for diversity, equity, and inclusion policies. Stitt gave a hint about the materialization of this order earlier in the year. 

Gov. Stitt signing Executive Order 2023-31
Source: Cornelly Woolridge/X

According to him, DEI policies are just bottlenecks that hinder the free expression of diversity in the state. Gov. Stitt acknowledges that the initiators of DEI policies had good intentions. However, he feels it is less progressive and has become more of a clog in the wheel. 

A careful perusal of the executive order reveals that the jab at DEI initiatives across the state is aimed mainly at academic institutions. Students, or prospective students, who align with DEI initiatives have probably been given undue preference. 

In the executive order, Gov. Kevin Stitts acknowledges the rights of his citizens under the Fourteenth Amendment. So, in effect, he first admits that every individual in Oklahoma has a right to their liberty, as upheld by the law.

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Obviously, the Governor has considered all the legal loopholes that civil rights bodies may pick in the executive order.

ALSO READ: Former DEI Executive at Facebook Pleads Guilty In a $4 Million Fraud Lawsuit

Next, Stitt proceeds to dissolve every office and agency that has oversight of DEI, particularly those that receive funding from the government of Oklahoma. Also, by May 2024, all the concerned agencies will have to show evidence of their dissolution in accordance with the executive order. 

Governor Stitt has ended funding for all state-funded agencies and DEI initiatives in Oklahoma. Likewise, he has ended all instituted training made compulsory for either students or staff on the said topic. Finally, he is directing that nobody be required to declare their preferred pronouns in public departments and institutions of Oklahoma. 

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In a post on his official X account, Gov. Stitt explained the inspiration behind the DEI executive order. He said the executive order is a call for sanity in the DEI practices in Oklahoma.

Stitt explains further that students receiving an education subsidized by taxpayers’ money should not carry political burdens. Instead, diversity policymakers should allow students to receive education without the distractions of keeping true to several diversity policies. 

POLL — Should Public Schools Include Critical Race Theory and Sex Education in Their Curriculum?

Clarifications have also been provided on the limits of the executive order. For one, the order does not apply to DEI programs or initiatives solely receiving funding from nongovernmental organizations. Likewise, the order will not affect student organizations or the academic discussion of DEI on campuses. 

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Gov. Stitt is trying to make eggheads and policymakers understand that the executive order is not a ban on DEI. However, university communities in Oklahoma see things differently than Stitt. 

ALSO READ: No More Religious Activities Over the PA System in This Oklahoma School as Parents Push Back

In response to the executive order, the University of Oklahoma wrote a statement expressing their displeasure with the Governor’s crackdown. However, the same statement acknowledges the order and points out that it will comply by dissolving all DEI offices on the state-owned university campus. 

Though not in total agreement, “University of Oklahoma remains accessible and available to all, and we will continue to work to recruit and retain a workforce of talented and qualified minds that is representative of our state.”

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