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University Suspends Diversity And Ethics Classes Over Unethical Treatment Of Students With Diverse Beliefs

Boise, ID – Boise State University (BSU) abruptly suspended all 52 sections of its mandatory ethic and diversity general education course after at least one student reported having been “humiliated and degraded” over their personal views, according to university officials.

“We have been made aware of a series of concerns, culminating in allegations that a student or students have been humiliated and degraded in class on our campus for their beliefs and values,” BSU President Marlene Tromp and Interim Provost Tony Roark said in a joint email to their colleagues on Tuesday, according to the Idaho Press.

“This is never acceptable; it is not what Boise State stands for, and we will not tolerate this behavior,” Tromp and Roark’s message read.

The three-credit general education requirement, “University Foundations 200: Foundations of Ethics and Diversity,” can be satisfied by completing one of 52 different course sections – all of which were abruptly suspended on Tuesday, the Idaho Press reported.

Such classes include the refugee crisis, the American dream, hip hop, hospitality, education, technology, literature, and food in the U.S., the Idaho Statesman reported.

Human rights, deviance, censorship, moral courage, and folklore are also among the class options available, according to Inside Higher Ed.

The course has been a requirement since 2012.

A total of 1,300 student were enrolled in the ethics and diversity courses when the moratorium went into effect.

Tromp said BSU had created “purpose-specific mid-term evaluations” for those currently attending the course, and reminded students they “have multiple options for reporting instructor bias,” to include “anonymous reporting,” Inside Higher Ed reported.

Although the university was already conducting an in-depth review of the curriculum, Tromp noted the school “must be responsive to these specific allegations and ensure that this and all our courses live up to this standard of mutual respect.”

Tromp said BSU ”is committed to ensuring that each and every one of our students is treated with respect and that all have the right to hold and to voice their own personal and political beliefs,” The Arbiter reported. “Our campus is richer and learning is made more effective because people of all backgrounds and beliefs are invited to meet, exchange ideas, and learn together.”

University officials are still developing a plan to deal with the general education requirement.

“In conjunction with academic leadership, we will determine next steps over the next week to ensure that everyone is still able to complete the course, and we will communicate with all students in these classes,” Roark and Tromp wrote in the email, according to the Idaho Press.

BSU officials did not provide details about the nature of the complaint, but at least one faculty member wrote about the incident in a since-deleted Twitter post, according to Inside Higher Ed.

He said he was told that a BSU student “taped a Zoom discussion on white privilege, in which apparently a white student was made to feel uncomfortable, and sent video to ID state legislature, who are ‘enraged,’” according to the news outlet.

The faculty member further said that the Idaho State Legislature and the Idaho Freedom Foundation “have been requesting syllabi for years now, looking for something they can use to force the removal of anything related to [diversity and inclusion], and they think they have it,” Inside Higher Ed reported.

Earlier this month, members of the legislature’s joint finance-appropriations committee alleged BSU was pursuing a costly social justice agenda and voted to slash $409,000 from the university’s budget.

The higher education bill passed by the Idaho Senate on Wednesday included those cuts, Inside Higher Education reported.

Idaho state institutions will also be required to report all funds spent on social justice initiatives under the bill.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

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Written by Holly Matkin


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