U of Oklahoma refuses to revise mandatory training that makes students agree with transgender ideology
An education nonprofit argues that in order to complete the training, students were compelled to answer questions in a way that agreed with the university’s position on transgenderism.
The University of Oklahoma rejected FIRE's request to make its mandatory diversity training optional.
The University of Oklahoma rejected an appeal from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, a nonprofit, to revise its mandatory diversity training.
Recently, the FIRE discovered that the University of Oklahoma is forcing students to attend a virtual program that “required trainees to acknowledge their agreements with the university’s approved political viewpoints in order to complete the requirement.”
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According to FIRE’s November 16 letter to administrators, the program “begins with a set of questions titled ‘Insights’ that are said to ‘encourage reflection and introspection.’” Though the section states that there are “no right answers to these questions and your selections will be completely anonymous,” graduate student Elizabeth Owen — who alerted FIRE to the program — was forced to repeat questions until she selected the answer that the university deemed correct.
“One of the questions in the training asked Owen to ‘try to help your frustrated coworker, Michael, realize that understanding difference is not a prerequisite for respecting it,’” explains FIRE’s letter. “It then showed a video of the coworker — Michael — saying ‘I’m so tired of all this transgender stuff.’”
Owen was prompted to select a response. When Owen chose the response that aligned with her thoughts about the situation — that “political correctness can be tiring” — the module informed Owen that her opinion was not the “best choice.”
The module then repeated itself until Owen was forced to select the university’s preferred answer to Michael: “You seem upset. What’s the matter?”
FIRE’s letter asserted that the program “requires its participants to affirm to the university what response to questions of social and political concerns are correct according to the university’s administration.”
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On April 26, the University of Oklahoma rejected FIRE’s request to make the course optional, claiming that the training “does not impose specific ways of thinking, but instead, presents situational examples of how to engage with the broader world in a way that is understanding of all people and perspectives.”
FIRE submitted a public records request on May 4 to obtain the school’s contract with EVERFI — the software vendor that produced the program — to see whether the university followed through with its promise to discuss FIRE’s concerns with the company.
University of Oklahoma Director of Media Relations Kesha Keith told Campus Reform that its diversity training “does not impose specific ways of thinking, but instead, presents situational examples of how to engage with the broader world in a way that is understanding of all people and perspectives.”
University officials “will continue to monitor its training efforts while continuing to advance the university’s work of engaging community members in a meaningful learning experience with the goal of fostering a more inclusive campus community.”
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