Idaho Public Universities Spent $6 Million of Taxpayer Money on DEI in 2023

Evan Poellinger | February 12, 2024
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A number of publicly-funded colleges and universities in Idaho have increasing spent millions of dollars of taxpayer money on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)-related courses, staff, and policies.

The Daily Mail reported that Boise State University and other schools spent $6 million on DEI efforts. Boise State and the three other public schools employ 75 DEI administrators, several of which draw substantial salaries. Chief among these is the University of Idaho’s Chief Diversity Officer Yolanda Brisby, who nets an annual salary of $170,706 each year.

According to the Idaho Freedom Foundation, which was responsible for uncovering the dramatic increase in spending on DEI, the amount spent on DEI in the state has nearly tripled, from $2.2 million in February 2022 to the current $6 million expenditure level at present.

This led to Gov. Spencer Cox (R) signing legislation last month prohibiting DEI programs at public universities and in the state government. In addition to outright denying that they are engaged in propagation of DEI policies, the University of Idaho has also gone as far as “hiring an aligned law firm (at taxpayer expense) to investigate themselves and to show that there was no DEI on their campus.”

Unfortunately, the situation in Idaho is far from the only example of public universities attempting to skirt around laws prohibiting DEI policies. In a video from February 13, 2023, administrators from Texas A & M discuss their methods of circumventing Texas’ restrictions on DEI departments and policies at public schools. DEI stubbornness in other cases has forced state legislatures to take more drastic measures, such as when the Wisconsin Assembly withheld raises for faculty and staff at the University of Wisconsin school system after the school refused to curtail its DEI efforts.

It seems that, if Idaho wishes to truly curtail the problem of DEI, it must address it at its monetary source.