Oklahoma Governor Signs Executive Order Effectively Banning DEI In All State Institutions

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by Tyler Durden
Friday, Dec 15, 2023 - 01:00 AM

Following the meltdown on Capitol Hill by "Ivy League" Presidents from Harvard, MIT and Penn, on Wednesday of this week Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt signed Executive Order 2023-31, effectively banning diversity, equity and inclusion bureaucracies in state institutions.

Standing in front of a podium which read "DEFUNDING DISCRIMINATION", Stitt announced: “In Oklahoma, we’re going to encourage equal opportunity, rather than promising equal outcomes.”

“Encouraging our workforce, economy, and education systems to flourish means shifting focus away from exclusivity and discrimination, and toward opportunity and merit. We’re taking politics out of education and focusing on preparing students for the workforce," he said at a press conference.

According to the Governor's office, the order says that state agencies and institutions for higher education shall not utilize state funds, property, or resources to:

  1. Grant or support diversity, equity, and inclusion positions, departments, activities, procedures, or programs to the extent they grant preferential treatment based on one person’s particular race, color, sex, ethnicity, or national origin over another’s;

  2. mandate any person to participate in, listen to, or receive any education, training, activities, procedures, or programming to the extent such education, training, activity, or procedure grants preferences based on one person’s particular race, color, sex, ethnicity, or national origin over another’s;

  3. mandate any person swear, certify, or agree to any loyalty oath that favors or prefers one particular race, color, sex, ethnicity, or national origin over another;

  4. mandate any person to certify or declare agreement with, recognition of, or adherence to, any particular political, philosophical, religious, or other ideological viewpoint;

  5. mandate any applicant for employment provide a diversity, equity, and inclusion statement or give any applicant for employment preferential consideration based on the provision of such a diversity, equity, and inclusion statement; or

  6. mandate any person to disclose their pronouns.

Patrice Onwuka, director of Independent Women’s Forum’s Center for Economic Opportunity, commented: "As a nation, we strive for equality of opportunity to give every young person a chance at achieving their American Dream. Race, ethnicity, gender, and heritage should not be used to discriminate against any person. Yet, discriminatory DEI programming has done damage on college campuses—fomenting division between students, eroding free speech rights, threatening academic freedom, and bloating school bureaucracies, which in turn drives up tuition costs."

Onwuka continued: "Furthermore, these efforts do not prepare young women and men for the diverse workforce that values aptitude, grit, and skill, not a sense of entitlement driven by victimhood. We applaud Governor Stitt and the state for taking leadership on removing discriminatory and divisive race-based programming and staffing from Oklahoma colleges and universities. Every student deserves a campus free from discrimination. Thankfully, legal protections already outlaw race-and sex-based discrimination, but this executive order guards against efforts to bypass those protections."

David Safavian, general counsel for the American Conservative Union, commented: "For years, universities and government agencies, even those in red states, have become increasingly beholden to a coercive liberal agenda, often framed under the banner of DEI."

He continued: "The transformation of these institutions has been exposed following the response by major universities in the aftermath of the October 7th terror attack by Hamas. Especially with that in mind, CPAC applauds Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt for acting through executive order today to take down DEI in all of Oklahoma’s government. Abolishing DEI bureaucracies and ending mandatory 'diversity' training and DEI hiring statements will ensure Oklahoma’s institutions can focus on the diversity of ideas, rather than shame-based political activism. Oklahomans can take pride in knowing that the content of their character will matter more than the color of their skin."

Following the release, public universities reacted accordingly:

Executive Order 2023-31 can be read in full here. To rewatch the press conference, click here