Recently, 28 legislators signed a letter addressed to the new Boise State University preside nt, Marlene Tromp. Written by Rep. Barbara Ehardt, R-Idaho Falls, the letter focuses on doing things “the Idaho way,” which clearly, isn’t the same way many Idahoans see our state. The letter was co-signed by District 5 Rep. Bill Goesling, R-Moscow.
The privilege of the letter’s author and its co-signers is obvious as they write about “unnecessary” programs like scholarships for DACA and minority students, diverse hiring practices, inclusive cultural events, and new staff to support first-generation students of color. These programs not only help universities grow, but also support Idaho’s Go-on Rate. Cutting funding to programs that promote inclusivity and diversity is not “the Idaho way.” It’s how we backtrack in time to remove the supports provided to minority populations that are already disadvantaged in our society, and especially in our conservative state.
At the University of Idaho, I firmly believe the diversity of our campus is what makes it so wonderful. We are lucky to recruit so many first-generation students and I hope in the diversity of our campus only increases in the future, as there are still improvements to make. I am proud to learn from, and work beside, people who strive to make education a reality for everyone regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, etc.
As a UI student, I would argue I am just as frustrated with rising tuition as these legislators are, but I also know that these inclusive programs alone are not responsible for BSU’s or UI’s financial qualms.
Acceptance and support will take you further in life than any degree. I hope President Tromp (and UI President Green) feel the same.
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