A proposed amendment to House Bill 1213 of the 91st Arkansas General Assembly filed on Thursday, March 9, would seek to discontinue funding for the Arkansas Tech University Department of Diversity and Inclusion beginning July 1, 2017.
The proposed amendment reads, in part:
"Arkansas Tech University shall not budget, allocate, commit for expenditure or expend any funding for the Arkansas Tech Department of Diversity and Inclusion or its successor."
There will be a meeting of the Special Language subcommittee of the Joint Budget Committee at 8 a.m. on Thursday, March 16, in Multi-Agency Complex room B, which is located at One Capitol Mall in Little Rock. The amendment to House Bill 1213 is scheduled to be considered at that time.
The meeting is open to the public. ATU employees who wish to attend the meeting are reminded they must submit a request for leave in order to be away from their work station for the duration of their absence. Also, beginning times for meetings such as this must sometimes be adjusted. Visit http://www.arkansas.gov/government/calendar for the most up-to-date information.
ATU President Dr. Robin E. Bowen released the following statement regarding the amendment:
“I am dismayed, but not discouraged by the amendment to House Bill 1213 that was filed with the 91st General Assembly on Thursday. Since it was created in 2015, the Department of Diversity and Inclusion (DDI) has served as a valuable resource for our campus. Seven registered student organizations work in partnership with DDI to offer programming that enriches the university experience for all students and generates worthwhile dialogue. Just as is the case on virtually every other college and university campus in the United States, the Arkansas Tech University office devoted to reaching underrepresented populations serves an important student retention function. To put it in the simplest terms, doing away with the Department of Diversity and Inclusion would limit opportunities for higher education attainment, and that is wrong. We will work with legislators to ensure they understand the importance of such offices not only at Arkansas Tech University, but at universities and colleges throughout our state.”