Higher Education

Trent England | October 7, 2022

UCO: broke and still digging

Trent England

The University of Central Oklahoma is laying off faculty and cutting programs due to declining enrollment and chronic mismanagement. Amidst all this, why not waste more money to push tendentious ideology on students in violation of state law?

As reported earlier this week, UCO’s communications department hosted a conference where the keynote lecture demanded students incorporate “diversity, equity and inclusion” (DEI) into their future work. DEI sounds innocuous, but the goal is to smuggle left-wing ideology into corporations, usually via the public relations and human relations departments, and then use corporate power to force those views on everyone else.

DEI is based on “Critical Race Theory.” CRT is a modern academic and corporate fad, but is dangerous nonetheless. It is based on materialist premises, which are hostile to Christianity and any other view that holds to universal moral truths. Its pedigree includes the likes of Karl Marx and Social Darwinists, and anyone else who believed that racial characteristics have some fundamental importance. CRT rejects Rev. Martin Luther King’s plea that we judge people not “by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

The Oklahoma Legislature passed a law that, in effect, banned CRT in public schools. Because the media often repeats lies about HB 1775, the language is worth quoting in full (italics added).

  1. No teacher, administrator or other employee of a school district, charter school or virtual charter school shall require or make part of a course the following concepts:
    1. one race or sex is inherently superior to another race or sex,

    2. an individual, by virtue of his or her race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously,

    3. an individual should be discriminated against or receive adverse treatment solely or partly because of his or her race or sex,

    4. members of one race or sex cannot and should not attempt to treat others without respect to race or sex,

    5. an individual’s moral character is necessarily determined by his or her race or sex,

    6. an individual, by virtue of his or her race or sex, bears responsibility for actions committed in the past by other members of the same race or sex,

    7. any individual should feel discomfort, guilt, anguish or any other form of psychological distress on account of his or her race or sex, or

    8. meritocracy or traits such as a hard work ethic are racist or sexist or were created by members of a particular race to oppress members of another race.

That same statute prohibits colleges from forcing racist CRT and other left-wing ideological fads on students (I’ve italicized the section that may prohibit UCO’s program).

No enrolled student of an institution of higher education within The Oklahoma State System of Higher Education shall be required to engage in any form of mandatory gender or sexual diversity training or counseling; provided, voluntary counseling shall not be prohibited. Any orientation or requirement that presents any form of race or sex stereotyping or a bias on the basis of race or sex shall be prohibited.

I don’t yet know enough about the content of UCO’s conference to know whether parts of it violated HB 1775. Either way, what a waste of student time and both students’ and taxpayers’ money. You might wonder where UCO President Patti Neuhold-Ravikumar was during all this.

According to the conference agenda, she was in attendance.

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

Trent England David and Ann Brown Distinguished Fellow

Trent England

David and Ann Brown Distinguished Fellow

Trent England is the David and Ann Brown Distinguished Fellow at the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, where he previously served as executive vice president. He is also the founder and executive director of Save Our States, which educates Americans about the importance of the Electoral College. England is a producer of the feature-length documentary “Safeguard: An Electoral College Story.” He has appeared three times on Fox & Friends and is a frequent guest on media programs from coast to coast. He is the author of Why We Must Defend the Electoral College and a contributor to The Heritage Guide to the Constitution and One Nation Under Arrest: How Crazy Laws, Rogue Prosecutors, and Activist Judges Threaten Your Liberty. His writing has also appeared in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Washington Times, Hillsdale College's Imprimis speech digest, and other publications. Trent formerly hosted morning drive-time radio in Oklahoma City and has filled for various radio hosts including Ben Shapiro. A former legal policy analyst at The Heritage Foundation, he holds a law degree from The George Mason University School of Law and a bachelor of arts in government from Claremont McKenna College.

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