Senators: Defund Nebraska State Colleges, Universities

By 
Steve Erdman and Steve Halloran
Nebraska State Senators

What value is there in a college education today? Where can a student go today for higher education which isn’t laced with left-wing propaganda such as critical race theory? Nebraska’s state’s colleges and universities are now devolving at an alarming rate. Many Nebraskans now believe there may be more hope for the Cornhuskers to play in a bowl game this year than for our own colleges and universities to recover their good names and reputations.

Last month, Gov. Pete Ricketts announced publicly that he has lost all faith in UNL Chancellor, Ronnie Green. Ricketts drew this conclusion after he was misled by the chancellor about a document that emerged at the university flowing out of an 18-month long equity and diversity study conducted by students and faculty at UNL. After the chancellor reported how the governor supported the study, Ricketts responded at a press conference saying, “What the university is talking about is giving unqualified people jobs based on their skin color…and (Ronnie Green) did not tell me those things when we were talking about that last week. I was misled by Ronnie Green. I have lost all faith in Ronnie Green and don’t believe anything he says anymore.”

Ricketts has now come to the same conclusion that we, state Sens. Steve Erdman of Bayard and Steve Halloran of Hastings, reached four years ago. On Nov. 16, 2017, we met with both Green and University of Nebraska President Hank Bounds. They were not truthful with us at that time about how conservatives were being treated at UNL. They assured us that conservatives were being treated fairly on campus, but the very next day at 4:55 p.m. they released a letter to the governor and to the members of the Legislature apologizing for the way conservatives were being treated a UNL. So, which is it? Because of these kinds of untruths, we believe it would be in the best interest of the university and the people of Nebraska for Green to resign as chancellor of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.

The Board of Regents aren’t any better. When we elect regents, we expect them to be guardians of truth and to protect the University from corrosive ideas. Instead, they have allowed critical race theory to invade our university system and to fester into the academic cancer that it is today. When the Board of Regents had the opportunity to correct this situation back in August, they failed to pass a resolution which would have helped to resolve this problem. As the result, critical race theory has now become normalized and standardized throughout the University of Nebraska system. Although NU President Ted Carter continues to insist that critical race theory is not being taught at the University of Nebraska, one needs look no further than UNL’s own “Journey for Anti-Racism and Racial Equality,” where the stated philosophy is, “A reckoning with history and its impact on the present” coupled with their false accusation that opponents of critical race theory aid the Klu Klux Klan.

The situation isn’t any better regarding our state college system. One would think that after countless numbers of parents and concerned citizens came out to testify against gender identity and sexual orientation being taught in our K-12 public schools that those running our state college system would have concluded that these are things that the people of Nebraska don’t want taught to students in our state college system as well. Regardless of the viewpoints of parents and the concerns of our citizens, the trustees (board members) who run our state college system voted last month in favor of a new policy for gender identity and sexual orientation.

Much like when no one at the University of Nebraska could give a straight answer about the existence of free speech zones, no one at the state college system can give a straight answer today about gender identity and sexual orientation. So, when we asked Chancellor Paul Turman if the state college system’s new policy would allow biological males to access women’s restrooms and locker rooms, he replied in doublespeak, saying, “(They) do NOT allow men access to women’s restrooms or locker rooms. Individuals can access restrooms consistent with their gender identity.” So, which is it? Make no mistake about it, though: Biological males who self-identify as females may now use women’s restrooms and locker rooms, but the political correctness of the Woke Left will no longer permit the chancellor to give anyone a straight answer, and that is exactly what our colleges and universities are now teaching our students to do.

Going forward, defunding our state’s colleges and universities may be the only way we can get the attention of those who have been charged with running them. So let us end this article by simply reminding those who run our public colleges and universities about who they really work for. If there is any good thing which comes from this report today on the state of our colleges and universities, it is that parents and students should now be better informed and better equipped for making decisions about where to go for higher education.

Sen. Steve Erdman of Bayard represents District 47, including much of the Panhandle, in the Nebraska Legislature. Sen. Steve Halloran of Hastings represents District 33, including Adams and part of Hall counties.

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