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HomeGeneralOklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt Removes DEI Offices From State Agencies and Universities

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt Removes DEI Offices From State Agencies and Universities

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Kevin Stitt
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Thanks to the executive order he just signed, Kevin Stitt may need to get ready for a long fight. The order asks state employees to “eliminate and dismiss non-critical personnel” because the state will no longer fund DEI positions.

It prohibits mandated training and certification on the topic. There will also be no requirement to use preferred pronouns in government departments or public universities.

Stitt promised in an address earlier this year to shift from fewer DEI officers on campuses to more career counselors. He also shared on X, formerly known as Twitter, that Oklahoma will “celebrate our diversity without the DEI bureaucracy.”

“Diversity is an asset that shouldn’t be abused to advance a political agenda,” Stitt wrote. “That’s why my executive order calls on state agencies and higher ed to review their DEI practices. We’re taking politics from education and focusing on preparing students for the workforce.”

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Stitt’s order will not apply to some. Those excluded include student organizations that host events, academic courses, existing programs that provide student access, or guest speakers. It will also not limit debate or speech on the topic of DEI. 

Nevertheless, universities have expressed disagreement with the order.

The University of Oklahoma wrote in a statement. “We are disappointed that today’s executive order reaches into college campuses across Oklahoma and eliminates offices of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.”

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The university acknowledged it was powerless to stop the new mandate. However, it renewed its commitment to the core principles that make the university a place “where the American Dream is available to all.”

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The statement continues. “We remain committed to ensuring an education from the University of Oklahoma remains accessible and available to all students. We will continue to work to recruit and retain a workforce of the most talented and qualified minds that represent our state.”

“For many of us, this news evokes deep concern and uncertainty about the future, and in many ways feels like a step backward,” the statement reads.

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Undoubtedly, the university has no choice but to comply with the governor’s executive order. However, it will remain committed to ensuring that study at the University of Oklahoma remains accessible and available.

Also, the university stated, “We will continue to work to recruit and retain a workforce of talented and qualified minds that is representative of our state.”

Agencies affected must be able to provide evidence of their compliance by May 31, 2024. 

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