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Open Letter on Higher Education in Oklahoma – OU Professor David Deming

University of Oklahoma Professor Open Letter on Oklahoma Higher Ed

Open Letter on Higher Education in Oklahoma
a call for reform:

• My name is David Deming. I have been an OU professor for 27 years. This letter expresses my personal viewpoint as a citizen of Oklahoma speaking on a matter of public concern. I am not a spokesperson or representative of the University of Oklahoma.

• Higher education in Oklahoma has been taken over by a small group of radical left-wing political extremists whose views and goals are in no way representative of the vast majority of the people of Oklahoma. These people are not liberals. Hateful and irrational, they do not believe in democracy, free speech, or freedom of conscience. Their goal is to indoctrinate students in leftist totalitarian ideology and suppress all dissent by any means possible. They maintain control and power by bullying and intimidating anyone who disagrees with them. See for yourself: watch the video that shows the humiliation and profane cursing of OU President Gallogly at a Jan. 22 public meeting. In 2017, Kirk Humphreys was forced to resign from the Board of Regents at OU.

• OU President Gallogly has made a commendable effort to get the budget under control. But he’s barely begun to nibble around the edges. One example: in 2015, OU created an “Office of University Community” whose mission is to enforce political correctness on campus and indoctrinate students in left-wing political doctrines such as white privilege, cultural appropriation, and social justice. In October of 2018, the Office of Community sent out a memorandum warning students to not engage in “cultural appropriation” when choosing Halloween costumes. Think about that in terms of budget discipline: OU maintains a staff of ten people to regulate Halloween costumes.

• OU has a “Gender + Equality Center” staffed by five people that put on an annual “Crimson and Queens Drag Show.” Other wasteful boondoggles at OU include a Gay Lounge, Islamic Prayer Room, and a Center for Social Justice that publicly boasts of training students in political activism (of the type that was on display when President Gallogly was attacked).

• Faculty and administrative salaries at OU are grotesquely inflated. The Governor of Oklahoma is paid $147,000. A US Congressman makes $174,000. The median family income in Oklahoma is about $50,000. Yet there are more than a hundred faculty and administrators at OU who make more than $200,000. A few years ago, I was astonished to see that the average salary for a Dean at OU had risen to $200,000. Now it’s closer to $300,000. No faculty member or administrator at OU needs or deserves to have an income higher than that of the Governor. Students and taxpayers are being gouged.

• In 2015, OU summarily expelled two students from the SAE fraternity for chanting racial epithets. Although what the students did was despicable, OU’s response was illegal and resulted in FIRE listing OU as one of the “ten worst colleges for free speech” in 2016. Even murderers, rapists, and child abusers have a right to due process of law. But the SAE students were allowed no notice of the charges against them, no hearing, and no defense. FIRE characterized OU’s actions as ” one of the most brazen violations of free speech and due process rights to occur on campus in 2015…numerous colleges across the country seized on OU’s unconstitutional actions as a signal that they have an “all clear” to toss freedom of speech and basic fairness out of the window.”
• The loss of academic freedom at OU is so bad that one State Regent has warned that “higher education is rushing headlong toward an anti-intellectual abyss.”

• OU prides itself on professed values of “diversity” and “inclusion.” These supposed policies are a fraud. For anyone who is a conservative (or even a political moderate), the OU campus is the most intolerant and hateful place in the entire state. On Feb. 2, 2017, a student simply holding an American Flag had “racial slurs and threats” directed against him. Another student had “his Trump flag stolen and his white hat knocked off of his head.” Unlike the SAE incident, no action whatsoever was taken by the OU administration against the perpetrators.

• The First Amendment guarantees a right to free speech, but in November of 2016, the OU Faculty Senate passed a resolution encouraging “everyone” to report cases of “hate speech” (anything that is politically incorrect) to the police, emulating totalitarian governments such as North Korea, Cuba, or Venezuela.

• In Fall of 2018, law professor Brian McCall was forced to resign from his position as associate dean for academic affairs at OU because of his conservative and religious beliefs. The persecution of professor McCall was condemned by the Oklahoman, who concluded (Oct. 😎 “there’s zero evidence McCall imposed his views on others…[he] was targeted for being conservative and religiously devout.”

• For some 25 years, I have witnessed the slow and insidious subversion of OU from an educational institution to one that is devoted increasingly to political indoctrination. More than anything else, the cancer seed that drives this process are the “grievance studies” programs: Women’s Studies, African-American Studies, and Native American Studies. Grievance studies are entirely devoted to promoting radical left-wing ideologies that subvert traditional American values of individualism, democracy, tolerance, and freedom. These programs have nothing to do with the people they take their names from. Native Americans, for example, are an important and valued constituency in Oklahoma. Great people! But most Native Americans want what other Oklahomans want: good jobs in areas such as nursing, engineering, geology, and computer science–not indoctrination in leftist political ideologies.

• Grievance studies have never been fields of genuine scholarly study. What passes for scholarship is laughable. At OU we have a professor of women’s and gender studies whose research specialty is the feminist interpretation of “Hong Kong martial arts films.”

• Legislative appropriations are invariably diverted to political indoctrination. Example: the Governor’s Council for Workforce and Economic Development has stated that Oklahoma has a critical shortage of nurses. How did OU respond? In 2017, OU hired three new faculty…not for the College of Nursing, but for “Native American Studies,” a field in which there are no jobs.

• There can be no reform without a frank recognition and admission of problems. State leaders need to stop allowing themselves to be intimidated and bullied by left-wing radicals and extremists. Legislators need to stop writing blank checks and link funding with reform.

• Oklahoma colleges need to follow other universities (e.g., Yale, Purdue) by adopting the Chicago Statement, a declaration that affirms an institution’s dedication to free speech, open discussion, and scholarly inquiry unimpeded by political correctness.

• An Oklahoma constitutional amendment that limits salaries in higher education to be no higher than the Governor’s salary.

• The Governor should convene a higher education summit of University and State Regents that decisively wipes out all the politicization, corruption, and waste in one fell swoop and returns our colleges and universities to their mission of education and research.


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  1. Cora Curtis

    January 23, 2019 at 9:32 pm

    Be sure to attend your respective precinct meetings and speak on this subject. Ask for input and ideas on how to rescue our young people from this education atrocity.

  2. Steve thomasson

    January 26, 2019 at 1:51 am

    Sir. I agree with everything you stated in this forum, but it’s sad to say that due to the nature of the liberal movement in full swing on almost every college campus in America, the outcome of which is , It’s only going to get worse. We sir are on a steady and sure decline.

  3. Joe

    February 5, 2019 at 6:52 pm

    It’s been a few years since I was on OU’s campus, but I work in higher-ed and I can pretty much guarantee you that OU’s campus no hotbed of liberal intolerance and anti-democratic activism. This is simply one aging professor’s lament about how the world is rapidly changing around him and quickly consigning him, his narrow worldview, and his antiquated opinions to the dustbin of history.

    And while administrative bloat may be a problem at many institutions of higher-ed, the writer conflates administrative salaries with the salaries of professors, assistant professors, instructors, etc. in order to incite a general anger in his readers. Here is the truth about what classroom teachers get paid at OU:

    Professor = $116,921
    Associate Professor = $82,433
    Assistant Professor = $75,566
    Instructor = $47,467
    Overall Average Salary = $85,497

    Considering that all of these positions require advanced degrees and most of them require PHD’s plus evidence of achievement in one’s field of expertise, such as publications in professional journals, these salaries seem very modest and certainly in keeping with national averages.

    OU’s annual budget is approved by a Board of Regents, just as it is at most public universities across the country. Each of the seven members of OU’s Board are appointed by the governor and approved by the state senate. So the writer’s alleged beef with salaries is a beef with the state’s Republican governor and with the state’s Republican legislature . . .

    But that isn’t REALLY the writer’s beef at all. He simply uses the salary issue to incite class anger in his readers in order to disguise his REAL agenda, which is both ultra-conservative and reactionary. He’s really attempting to turn back the clock at OU on faculty/student diversity initiatives and a call to exclude anything resembling multicultural studies from the curriculum. Mostly, though, he wants to go back to a time when it was socially unacceptable to call out professors like him on their baloney.

    • Bill james

      March 7, 2019 at 8:49 pm

      It’s not just this professor. He is lamenting the downfall of most institutions of higher learning in America today. It’s a well founded fact that leftist radicals have taken over and subverted free speech on campus. There is no merit in victim hood but that’s what taught to young fertile minds.The evidence abounds.Only those who prosper by it don’t see it.

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