Higher Education

Woke architecture and ‘underrepresented identities’: Oklahoma higher ed is hiring

February 19, 2021

Brandon Dutcher

“If you doubt that progressive indoctrination is widespread in Oklahoma’s tax-funded higher education system,” I wrote in part one and part two of this series, “simply visit the website of The Chronicle of Higher Education on any given day and peruse the job postings.”

One particular announcement caught my eye this week. The Gibbs College of Architecture at the University of Oklahoma, looking to hire professors to teach architecture and interior design, says “preference may be given to those candidates who can articulate how they may address issues of equity and belonging through their teaching, research and/or service.”

Indeed, prospective hires are informed that the college’s “strategic areas of focus reflect a renewed commitment by Gibbs College to improve equity and belonging in our communities ... Gibbs College of Architecture is committed to recruiting faculty and students from underrepresented identities and is dedicated to creating a welcoming environment for all. Candidates who share and contribute to this commitment are strongly encouraged to apply, including those from underrepresented identities and/or with experiences working with underrepresented communities. Please see ‘Our Commitment to Equity, Diversity + Belonging statement’ to learn more.”

I’m not sure precisely what is meant by “underrepresented identities.” Other job postings have tended to phrase it differently, encouraging applications “from minorities and women” or from “black and indigenous people of color.” I suppose sexual or gender identities could also be in view here. After all, one of the questions in OU’s mandatory diversity-training program for students and staff is: “What is your current gender identity?” The options given are: woman, man, transgender, cisgender, nonbinary, and genderqueer. Another question asks: “How do you self-identify?” The options given are asexual, bisexual, gay, heterosexual/straight, lesbian, pansexual, queer, and questioning.

(For what it’s worth, OU’s diversity-training program also warns students that equality sometimes isn’t good enough and that “Boomer Sooner” could be hurtful.)

Apropos of nothing, the architecture job posting informs candidates that “today, 39 federally recognized Tribal nations dwell in what is now the State of Oklahoma as a result of settler colonial policies designed to confine and forcefully assimilate Indigenous peoples.”

In short, as many Oklahomans are beginning to realize, this is not your father’s university. “The absolute most important thing to me,” OU’s current president says, “is that we get it right around diversity and inclusion.” It is OU’s “top priority.”

As Claremont Institute scholar Arthur Milikh pointed out this week, “America is currently engaged in a regime-level struggle that will preserve or destroy the purpose that has defined it.”

The regime of identity politics has already conquered nearly all of America’s major institutions and dominates the moral high ground. The universities and schools, Fortune 500 companies, much of the media and image-making industries, Big Tech, and the administrative state are put to use waging war on the American way of life. … A new Right needs a tougher, more sober approach to the Left’s assets: the adversarial press and media, Big Tech oligopolies, and corrupt universities.

It’s important that the regime of identity politics continues to be exposed. This “Boomer Sooner” article has already garnered more than 34,000 pageviews in 50 states and 32 countries.

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

(Image: Gibbs College of Architecture)