Information on Amendment to HB 1213

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 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.”


  1. Joyce L Lindsey says:

    I agree with you 100 per cent. Stay the course!!!

  2. Jay Featherston says:

    They want the federal government to get out of state business, then get out of the college’s business. THIS is over reach at its best.

  3. Dorris Prather says:

    Outrageous and ridiculous

  4. john pearson says:

    Fed. Gov. Needs to stay out of the state run schools and colleges..let the states run its own business…

    • Mike Rivas says:

      The amendment to the bill was proposed by three Arkansas state legislators. Mary Bentley, Trevor Drown, and Marcus Richmond (Both representatives Drown and Richmond are ATU alumni, BTW). The Feds have nothing to do with the proposal.

  5. James T White says:

    Go Tech Go. They need to butt out.

  6. Kendall Tabor says:

    Sadly I bet the committee will limit debate to one for and one against, they have pulled this tactic many times this session. So the Public and others have no chance for there opinions to be voiced in the committee hearing. So find out who is one the committee and email them as to your opinion.

  7. Jim Tucker says:

    The Right Wing radical group just will not allow recognition of unfairness in education for our younger folks.

  8. Michael Saunders says:

    This is a state legislature originated amendment. The federal government is NOT involved. Typical of leftist snowflake mentality is to go off half-cocked and not actually have any knowledge of the matter. In any case, taxes allocated/spent for any alt-left, socialist agenda are not wanted by the majority of “The People” that pay the taxes. Moreover, what students, faculty, and university administration want is not nearly so weighted as to skew relevance in any matter concerning tax expenditures for a state university. Get over yourselves.

    • Richard Thompson 1970 says:

      Michael Sanders. What makes you flat earth conservatives know what’s best for education. You want to limit education so you can fool as many as possible to all believe what you believe. That is what diversity and inclusion about – not being just like you.

    • Logan Felder says:

      I would suggest looking into the reason this amendment was filed. A group was offended by the title of the organization’s “Sex on the Lawn” information booth. Leftist-snowflake is an improper insult when you consider a right-wing religious group was offended by sex and relationship education to young adults. This has nothing to do with leftist-snowflake, socialist agenda, or whatever critical name can be inserted. This is infringing on free speech, and as a Veteran, I will not support this. The amendment would likely never have been filed if someone or someones were not offended by sex education. Moreover, the state allocates funds to state universities that have boards; boards that exist to manage these funds. The state should not interfere with what a school can or can not do with tax money once it has been given to the school. The board of finance for the school should be the ones hit by controversial spending concerns and the state left out of it unless required to settle a dispute. This went straight to legislature supported by the same representative, Rep. Mary Bentley, who wants biblical creationism and intelligent design taught alongside biological evolution. This has whole thing has religious ideology behind it and doesn’t appear to have tax payer’s concerns in mind.

    • Agreed. I don’t think anyone is against the organization, per say, but I think most feel that this event, or others like it, will be a reflection on the school as a whole. Honestly, from what I have heard from the everyday Joe and Jane what they find “offensive” is in the name of the event and thereby, feel that the school shouldn’t be used or viewed as a venue.

  9. Mignonne Scarbrough says:

    Make your voices heard! Email and call the legislators involved, even if you think they support this hateful legislation. Since Tech students come from all over the state, lots of representatives will hear your voices.
    If you don’t know who your representatives are, you can find out on the House website:
    You can call this phone number while the house is meeting and the person who answers will take a message to your representative :House In-Session Phone–501-682-6211 If talking on the phone makes you nervous, write out a few sentences and just say that to the person who answers the phone. Just get straight to the point–ask your rep to have the courage and compassion to vote against the discriminatory legislation.

    Here is the information for the Senate:
    Senate In-Session Phone 501-682-2902
    Email or call the governor too!
    Governor Asa Hutchinson

  10. John Ruff says:

    So it sounds as if this could be funded privately. So all of those that are terribly offended by this amendment can start by putting their money up to fund it. Right it off as a charitable donation and move on. That will really show them how much this means to the school.

  11. Phil Carruth says:

    If a single penny of tax money is being spent by this “department” on event like Sex on the Lawn, a drag show or setting up “safe spaces” (safe from what…..the real world?) then I am all for not funding this department. You don’t get to do this with my tax dollars. Have a bake sale!

  12. You want the federal government to stay out of your state colleges.
    However, you fill out a FASFA and for subsidized loans in which the federal government pays the interest until you decide to graduate.
    You want a one way gold paved street.

  13. Adena White says:

    Whether or not you agree with the department’s mission or programming, this sets a dangerous precedent for state lawmakers to bully specific departments at public higher-education institutions in Arkansas. As a black alumna, I was happy to see strides toward diversity and inclusion on campus and viewed the department as a way to dismantle the “Redneck Tech” reputation. Fight on, Arkansas Tech!

  14. Gary Roberts says:

    At some point, Amendment 33 to the State Constitution may have to be considered.

  15. Don Riley, M.D. says:

    This office is responsible for safe zones and training therein? Microaggressions? Cultural competency? Small wonder Americans ranked so poorly in educational accomplishment and intellectual prowess. Tech, like all universities, needs to get back to its mission of education, not indoctrination. An inclusive and diverse education includes as its very essence free and open debate of differing ideas. There should be no safe spaces from this at universities.

    Diversity and Inclusion? Balkaniztion would be more apt. We have a country increasingly divided over just such as this. Our universities have failed at their core mission, and our civil society is no longer civil, in no small part by this kind of me-first divisiveness.

    The Legislature is entirely within it’s province in determining the allocation of state tax dollars, the degree of granularity its prerogative. I am within my rights to express my disapproval of this office and its programs, Diversity means I get to speak to this issue in disagreement with those who so passionately believe that dividing us by emphasizing our differences is being inclusive and not listening to opinions differing from one’s own is part and parcel of diversity.

    The Legislature will, I hope, cut the funding for this office. For my part, my estate plan includes a scholarship program for RHS students with a special preference for those attending Tech. I set this up as part of my saying thank you to Russellville for having been my home and for having been such a wonderful place to live. I’m not a Tech alum. In light of Tech’s succumbing to the agenda of those who would divide us in this fashion, I’ll be explicitly excluding any of my estate’s funds from going to Tech.

    I’ve nothing against those of a sexual orientation, skin color or ethnicity different than my own. Their lives. Their choices. I do oppose the agenda of the me-firsters, and I find those setting themselves apart by their sexual orientation, race of other such denominator destructive of the best interests of our country. America became the greatest country in history by everyone pulling together, not pulling us apart. Spare me, please, any recitations of how this or that person or group was mistreated, whether last month or last century. Life is unfair, but that should not entitle anyone to special dispensations. The opportunities are there for all. All it takes is honest effort on all our parts for those who are willing to work to succeed. And the largest effort we have before us will entail setting aside the politics of me and mine, speaking instead to the concept of US.

  16. Sue Busch says:

    If the title of the event had been “abstinence on the lawn,” there would have been no objection. And it’s doubtful those objecting have even looked closely at the event or they would see it’s about health and safety for all. This isn’t about funding; it’s about curbing free speech and legislating morality. It’s bad enough Bently and others want to censor history text books and teach religion as science in the public schools, but universities have always been, and must be bastions of free speech, guardians of knowledge, and disseminators of information on all topics. A diverse exchange of ideas is precisely what our tax dollars should be supporting. Fear of knowledge is a return to the dark ages and what Imprisioned Galileo.

    • Michael Saunders says:

      The LGBT cacophony is scientific heresy.

      The LGBT agenda is a scam to legitimize a human deviance that was once, righteously, a mental illness and a crime. Humans ONLY “think” they are homosexual. Homosexuality is like religion, a belief, not a fact.As far as science knows, there is no repeatable scientific evidence, such as genetics, supporting the physical existence of homosexuality. Psychological/psychiatric pseudo-evidence is anecdotal, not empirical proof, and until proven otherwise by scientific method, homosexuality is purely and simply a mental illness. Any person with a y chromosome is a male, no matter what they “think.” Surgery and hormone treatments do not make a male become female, or vice versa. Anyone can be nurtured to be almost anything, but it is ONLY nature and its facts that speak truth. A molecule of water may want to be wine, but as long as the molecule has two atoms of hydrogen and one of oxygen, it is and will always be water. In the future, genetic evidence may be discovered that supports homosexuality in humans. However, this would be a mutation not unlike the genetic defects/mutations that cause many diseases.

    • Don Riley, M.D. says:

      “This isn’t about funding; it’s about curbing free speech and legislating morality. It’s bad enough Bently and others want to censor history text books and teach religion as science in the public schools, but universities have always been, and must be bastions of free speech, guardians of knowledge, and disseminators of information on all topics. A diverse exchange of ideas is precisely what our tax dollars should be supporting. Fear of knowledge is a return to the dark ages and what Imprisioned Galileo.”

      It is indeed about free speech and legislating morality, and universities should indeed be bastions of free speech and a vector for a diverse exchange of ideas. Examine please the University President’s statements and those of the Office in question. How do you square the express intent to provide training in safe zones and micro aggression and whatever cultural competency might be with those statements? Or are you going to quote or paraphrase a famous Arkansan and say something like it depends on what the meaning of is is?

      The Sex on the Lawn incident only alerted the community to the stated mission of this so-called Office of Diversity and Inclusion. Its clear intent is antithetical to the core mission of a university and prejudicial to the value systems that need to be part and parcel of every citizen in our formerly civil society. As an unhypenated, no qualifier needed American, I think it’s well past time we found ways to advance the historical mission of universities to educate rather than indoctrinate. Similarly, I find organizations which choose to segregate us inimical to the best interests of our country. The mission of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion defines it as an enemy of free speech and independent thinking and exposure to the ideas and values of others, altogether too typical of campuses today. And it’s very title is at the core of its deception.

      Degrees steeped in and degraded by such offices have given us all too many people who barely qualify for jobs befitting people who supposedly have an advanced education. No small wonder we find ourselves in the deep kimchi of today. This is the 21st century, and there are no safe spaces.

  17. Lorie Whitby says:

    My son is an incoming freshman in the fall. He picked ATU in part because of the diversity he saw on campus during our campus visit. This legislation is sad. We are new to the ATU community, but I am happy to help where I can.

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