According to Iowa State professor Brian Behnken, yes, THIS Brian Behnken who would title a book about the GOP under Trump as diarrhea, the provost at Iowa State will not sign off on the new diversity requirement because legal counsel says it will violate Iowa’s divisive concepts law.
“I’m so disappointed,” Behnken said.
Democrat Sen. Claire Celsi said she didn’t believe it should violate the law and would really question that.
“That’s not what we’re being told and is the real problem with legislation like this,” Behnken responded.
Behnken said bills like this have a chilling effect.
At one point it seems that Behnken infers the Iowa State provost should be replaced.
Part of the new requirements were to require instructors to fulfill all four learning outcomes:
*identify the experiences and contributions of underrepresented or marginalized groups and how they have shaped the history and culture of the United States.
*understand the analytical concepts of culture, ethnicity, race, gender and/or religion and be able to apply these concepts to an analysis of the United States.
*analyze systemic oppression and personal prejudice and their impact on marginalized communities and the broader U.S. society.
*evaluate important aspects of diversity, equity and inclusion so they can live, work and collaborate with others in the 21st century United States.
Iowa State political science professor Dave Peterson also expressed frustration with the decision.
“I am tired of being disappointed in my administration,” he said. “The faculty adopted a major improvement to our curriculum, one that our students wanted, and we’ve been overruled by the university lawyers based on, in my reading, an overly restrictive read of a new law.”
Behnken told the Iowa State Daily that the old diversity requirements were too broad and open-ended.
“That led to a lot of problems with the old diversity requirement in that the language was so broad that just about any course got approved,” he said.
Behnken told The Iowa State Daily that Michael Norton, the attorney, told the university the third learning outcome violates the divisive concepts bill.
“It’s shameful that we put so much work into it, got a new Req passed, a huge accomplishment all by itself, only to have a group of non-educators who aren’t really concerned about students overrule us,” Behnken added.
Behnken is married to Monic, who also works at ISU and is a member of the Ames School Board, which drew ire for its participation in the radical, extreme Black Lives Matter Week of Action.