‘Race’ and ‘indigeneity’: Oklahoma higher ed is hiring

Higher Education

Mike Brake | October 19, 2021

‘Race’ and ‘indigeneity’: Oklahoma higher ed is hiring

Mike Brake

“The absolute most important thing to me,” says University of Oklahoma president Joseph Harroz, “is that we get it right around diversity and inclusion.” Remarkably, he says it is OU’s “top priority.”

It appears he wasn’t kidding. OU makes this statement on its website about its practices for hiring faculty: “Equal Employment Opportunity is the right of all persons to work and to advance on the basis of merit, ability, and potential without regard to race, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, genetic information, gender identity, gender expression, religion, disability, age, or status as a veteran.”

You’ll note there is one category under which OU makes no promises: political beliefs. It may be missing by accident, but OCPA’s ongoing series monitoring OU’s advertisements for faculty positions (see parts one, two, three, and four of the series) raises some definite suspicions. Namely: can anyone get hired in Norman who is not a committed left-winger?

Though it will be hard to top the OU College of Education’s quest for a “social justice” math professor or a scholar well-grounded in “Queer, Trans, and/or Sexualities Studies in Education,” let us once again turn our attention to the latest batch of OU faculty ads.

  • OU wants someone in Educational and Developmental Psychology who will “transform students’ and adults’ learning lives and communities” with “equity and justice.”

  • Over in Environmental History (who knew there was such a thing?), the right applicant must have an emphasis on issues of "race" or "indigeneity", which apparently refers to Native Americans.

  • Asian American Studies is looking for someone into “equity, diversity and inclusion,” the new OU buzzwords for wokeness. In fact many applicants for faculty positions are required to submit a DEI Statement, apparently a pledge to saturate their classes with this unholy trinity of wokeness. The Asian American Studies candidate will preferably have expertise in “institutionalized racism” or “environmental justice.”

  • Want to teach Contemporary Russian Studies at OU? Better have “a demonstrated commitment to fostering inclusivity and mentoring members of underrepresented groups.”

  • OU has an endowed chair in Native American History and Culture where—you guessed it—the new hire will place “the sovereignty of Native nations at the center of academic study.”

  • The new professors in Applied Social Psychology and Geography and Environmental Sustainability must of course submit their DEI statements, but the latter is expected to go a step beyond with “plans for contributing to diversity, equity and inclusion efforts.”

In short, OU is busy amassing a faculty corps that is self-selected to the far left. How long will state legislators and the OU Board of Regents—and the parents who are spending substantial sums to send their children down to Norman to be indoctrinated rather than educated—tolerate “such an obsessively woke state university with so few repercussions”?

[For more stories about higher education in Oklahoma, visit]

Mike Brake


Mike Brake is a journalist and writer who recently authored a centennial history of Putnam City Schools. A former reporter at The Oklahoman (his coverage of the moon landing earned a front-page byline on July 21, 1969), he served as chief writer for Gov. Frank Keating and for Lt. Gov. and Congresswoman Mary Fallin. He has also served as an adjunct instructor at OSU-OKC, and currently serves as public information officer for Oklahoma County Commissioner Brian Maughan.

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