Conservative Index Add
pagetitle

Saturday, February 17th, 2018Last Update: Sunday, February 4th, 2018 06:56:13 PM

A Three-Point Plan for Reforming Higher Education in Oklahoma

By: David Deming

Over the past few years the higher education establishment in Oklahoma has repeatedly warned that their mission of education is being compromised by a funding crisis. They want more money but offer nothing in return. Administrators have turned a blind eye to glaring problems and excesses in Oklahoma’s colleges and universities. They’re not rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic – they’re enlarging the hole in the ship by doubling down on mismanagement, politicization, and exploitation. Higher education will never reform itself. Effective change will have to be imposed by the Legislature and people of Oklahoma. To that end, I propose a simple three-point reform plan.

The first reform is adoption of the Kalven Report. The Kalven Report is a statement drafted in 1967 at the University of Chicago that affirms that institution’s dedication to free speech, open discussion, and scholarly inquiry unimpeded by political correctness. In 2015, Chicago reaffirmed its commitment to free speech, noting "it is not the proper role of the University to attempt to shield individuals from ideas and opinions they find unwelcome, disagreeable, or even deeply offensive." Princeton and Purdue University are among the institutions that have formally endorsed the Kalven Report.

Oklahoma’s colleges desperately need to adopt an official policy of intellectual and political tolerance. In 2016, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) named OU as one of the ten worst colleges in the US for free speech. Greg Lukianoff, President of FIRE, singled out OU as the most intolerant of all institutions because its actions were taken as a signal by other universities that they could “toss freedom of speech and basic fairness out of the window.”

The administration and Faculty Senate at OU have instructed members of the campus community to report incidents of “hate speech” to the police. What is “hate speech?” It’s anything that a person finds offensive. Keep in mind that if you say something as innocuous as “I support President Trump,” a number of people on the OU campus would categorize this as “hate speech.” Ironically, the obsession with suppressing “hate speech” has transformed the OU campus into the most intolerant and hateful place in the entire state. On November 15, 2016, a person was reported to the OU Police for the “crime” of Christian proselytizing. On February 2, 2017, two peaceful people holding signs supporting President Trump were physically assaulted on the OU campus.

Second, as a first step towards reversing politicization, abolish the “Studies” programs. Women’s Studies, African-American, and Native-American Studies have never been fields of legitimate academic inquiry. These programs have nothing to do with women, African-Americans or American Indians. They are entirely devoted to promoting radical left-wing ideologies that subvert American values of individualism, democracy, tolerance, and freedom.. Students in “Studies” programs are taught that the US is a vile racist nation where anyone who is not a white male is oppressed and disenfranchised. Young minds are filled with envy, resentment, and anger. The bitter fruit of this instruction is political violence.

Whenever the higher education establishment wants more money, they trot out the old argument that higher education is essential to Oklahoma’s economy. It is. But there are no jobs for people with degrees in “Women’s Studies.” Employment opportunities are in areas like computer science, engineering, and nursing. Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, recently pleaded that students be taught computer programming. This year, the Oklahoma Legislature cut the higher education budget by six percent. How did the University of Oklahoma respond? They went out and hired three new faculty members for the Native-American Studies program. What a colossal waste of scarce resources!

Third, limit salaries through a Constitutional Amendment so that no individual in higher education can be paid more money than the Oklahoma governor. The Governor’s salary is $147,000. A US Congressman makes $174,000. The median family income in Oklahoma is about $48,000. Yet the University of Oklahoma has scores of faculty and staff whose salaries are in excess of $200,000. According to http://oklahomawatchdata.org, 100 individuals at OU earn more than $207,000 annually. Salaries for these platinum-plated professors and administrators are obscene and unnecessary. Children from middle-class families are being priced out of college degrees through the incessant tuition increases that are necessary to feed this sick greed. According to oklahomawatchdata.org, tuition at OU from 2006/2007 through 2016/2017 increased by 69 percent. Over the same period of time, median family income in the US decreased.

There’s also a dirty little secret hiding in plain sight. Many of the courses at OU are not taught by the elite professors, but temporary instructors who can be paid as little as $20,000. or less. According to OU’s Office of Institutional Statistics, in Fall of 2016, the University employed a total of 163 “renewable term” employees. The exploitation of these people is reprehensible.

Oklahoma’s institutions of higher education are politicized, inefficient, and out of touch. They have evolved to serve an elite group of insiders who are exploiting the system for personal and political gain. If the Universities are to recapture their mission of education, drastic and immediate reforms are needed.

Dr. Deming is professor of arts and sciences at the University of Oklahoma

Other Stories From Summer 2017 Issue

What Drives RINOs to Kill Elephants?

John Michener
We all understand that power corrupts, so it is no surprise that the Oklahoma Conservative Index...

Oklahomas Education Standards for American History

Linda Murphy
Oklahomas standards and testing for American History are being rewritten as educators learned at...

THE FEDERAL PAGE for Summer 2017

Theodore King
Congressman Markwayne MullinDid, Indeed, Not Tell the TruthIn the spring issue I wrote that Se...

Dan Fisher for Governor: What in the world is he thinking?

Charlie Meadows
After informing many folks about former Republican State Representative Dan Fisher, now pastor,...

A Three-Point Plan for Reforming Higher Education in Oklahoma

David Deming
Over the past few years the higher education establishment in Oklahoma has repeatedly warned that...

Republicans for Governor

Richard Engle
Its early, but any serious candidate has, by now at least, made public their intent to run. The...

Bartlesville School Board Looks Out for Taxpayers

Brandon Dutcher
In June, the Bartlesville school board voted unanimously to outsource the schools janitorial...

Letters to the Editor for Summer 2017

Constitution Staff
AT&T Bribery Refund CaseI have not only followed bribery cases at the Oklahoma Corporation C...

Tidbits for Summer 2017

Constitution Staff
New Democrat State ChairOklahoma Democrats elected a new state chair to run the party for th...

2018 Race for Governor

Constitution Staff
Gov. Mary Fallin, who is now entering the final two years of her second term, is prohibited by term...

Special Elections for Legislative Seats

Constitution Staff
Special Elections to fill vacancies in the Oklahoma Legislature are progressing, with three of seven...

Tax Profligation Challenged

Stan Ward
SQ 640 was perhaps the most prolific grass roots amendment ever to the Oklahoma Constitution....

Drew Edmondson and the Coming Democratic SuperCell

Andrew K. Boyle
Its the lazy days of summer. That time of the year when political noise tends to quiet a bit....

The New Ideology of the Legislature

Rep. Jason Murphey
I will detail here the chain of events that transformed what I initially believed could be the best...

Our Michelle Obama Legislature

Steve Byas
When we started the Oklahoma Conservative Index in 1979, we had about 20 Republicans in the state...

In The News

Constitution Staff

Efforts to Get Corporation Commission to Reopen Southwestern Bell Case Continue
On December 19, the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled 8-1 against a group of former Southwestern Bell...

Constitution Staff

Federal Tax Cuts Could Result in Utility Rate Cuts
Federal Tax Cuts Could Result in Utility Rate Cuts for CustomersThe estimated annual tax savings for...

Constitution Staff

Special Elections for Legislative Seats
Special Elections to fill vacancies in the Oklahoma Legislature continue, with seven of nine...

Constitution Staff

Gross Receipts to the State Treasury Shows Growth
State Treasurer Ken Miller announced on January 5 that Gross Receipts to the state Treasury surged...

Constitution Staff

Step Up Oklahoma Calls for Tax Increases
In what can only be described as a full-court press, much of the financial elite of Oklahoma has...

Constitution Columnists

Richard Engle

Our Dirty Little (Not So) Secret
Did anyone actually think the Devil would go about with horns and a dark suit tempting people with...

John Michener

Conspiracy Can Aid or End Our Culture of Corruption
We all have that friend for whom everything is a conspiracy. Typically, this person will latch on to...

Rep. Jason Murphey

The Need to Transform the Legislative Process
It is the time of year when legislators file legislation for the next session. Every so often I feel...

© 2001 - 2009 The Oklahoma Constitution, all rights reserved.
Contact the Oklahoma Constitution by calling 405-366-1125 or emailing okconsti@aol.com
Content Management System (CMS) provided by WebTeks CMS.