When reading the article about state legislators opposing Boise State diversity programs, I vacillated between anger and non-belief. Among the 28 legislators are Rep. Vito Barbieri, Rep. John Green, Rep. Tony Wisniewski and Rep. Ron Mendive, all from Kootenai County. The programs which these legislators object to include: support for multicultural student events, six fellowships for under-represented minority students, a program to respond to gender-based violence, efforts to refer to people by their chosen name or pronoun, and training on how to reduce bias in hiring,
They claim to be concerned about the cost. Meanwhile, educational debt for college students is not their concern. Evidently, they fear our students possessing tolerance and mutual respect.
The America we live in doesn’t always offer an equal chance for all. Our Founding Fathers knew that tolerance is who we are and stated it in the First Amendment. In order to accept people we must understand where we may fall short and how we can correct it. Understanding the less obvious and less tolerant ways of behavior can be learned. The times demand that we educate people to understand our differences.
Kootenai County, like the rest of Idaho, has a population that is substantially white and anglo. I believe that the legislators who signed this letter fall under that umbrella. Perhaps developing programs to provide for more people to complete college and career training programs would better serve us.
I might suggest each of them be required to attend the “how to reduce bias in hiring” program offered at Boise State. Tolerance is who we are as Americans. Perhaps along the way these 28 missed that part of our Constitution.