Campus Reform | Idaho lawmakers slash university budget by over $2 million to 'send a message' about Critical Race Theory

Idaho lawmakers slash university budget by over $2 million to 'send a message' about Critical Race Theory

Idaho lawmakers recently decided to cut $2.1 million from university budgets in response to universities teaching Critical Race Theory and offering social justice programs to students.

One university president told Campus Reform that the cuts are 'painful.'

Idaho lawmakers recently decided to cut $2.1 million from university budgets in response to universities teaching Critical Race Theory and offering social justice programs to students.

The higher education appropriations bill, House Bill 387, was negotiated by Republican lawmakers as a response to lawmakers who were concerned at the amount of Critical Race Theory and social justice being taught at public colleges in Idaho.

The bill was signed by Idaho governor Brad Little's signature on May 10.

The bill would cut $500,000 from the University of Idaho and Idaho State University, while cutting $1.5 million from Boise State University.

Idaho State Sen. Carl Crabtree (R-Idaho) said to the Idaho Statesman that the funding cuts are meant to "send a message" to the colleges and universities.

[RELATED: LSU names new president who has long history of Critical Race Theory publications]

Jonathan Morton, a member of Turning Point USA at the University of Idaho, told Campus Reform that Critical Race Theory is a "plague on American education."

Democratic Senate Minority Caucus Chair, Janie Ward-Engelking (D-Idaho.) expressed embarrassment at the bill’s passing and concern that tuition may rise for students.

“I’m not proud of that at all, I don’t want any part of that, and it feels very embarrassing to me,” Ward-Engelking said to the Idaho Statesman. 

[RELATED: Biden administration signals intent to push critical race theory as American history and civics education]

However, some lawmakers did not believe the funding cut was enough. State Rep. Ron Nate (D-Idaho.) urged a budget cut of $18 million in hopes of sending an even stronger message.

Boise State University media relations director Mike Sharp directed Campus Reform a statement by Dr. Marlene Tromp, the president of Boise State University, stating that the funding cuts will hurt the university and come at a bad time.

“This is a painful cut when we have already faced the financial challenges of the pandemic and all the incredible outcomes that have been achieved this past year in spite of the hardships,” Tromp said. “These losses have not been amended by the federal relief dollars that have come to the university. We have been working, however, area by area, since the pandemic began to ensure that we are prepared to face budgetary hardship. That effort will aid us in weathering this additional cut.”