January 30, 2023
Like many of you, I am watching in disgust at the legislation cropping up in states such as Oklahoma, Florida, and Texas, which seeks to limit academic freedom and subjects that can be taught, and dismantle diversity, equity, and inclusion work. I have been following the commentary surrounding senior diversity officers’ and divisions’ salaries. And, I have been outraged by the so-called model state legislation that has been put forward by the Manhattan and Goldwater Institutes, giving states a blueprint to take aim at the efforts to which many of us have dedicated our professional lives. As I have said to the press, while these efforts are currently at the state level, they are coordinated and the intent is clear — attack the work, attempt to dismantle the infrastructure, and silence the voices and efforts across the country.
While I personally experience a range of emotions when seeing so many try to diminish our work, it is the passion and commitment we all possess that drives us forward — in spite of an orchestrated campaign designed to tear us down. Some of you have reached out to me directly to inquire what NADOHE is doing to stand against this coordinated effort. Others have reached out to ask how to navigate this harsh environment. Let’s be clear, NADOHE understands this concern, and we will not sit idle while these attacks continue.
As an organization, we are beginning to connect with national partners in an attempt to build support that will work to defeat these measures. We are reaching out to journalists across the country to let them know how valuable our efforts are within the campus communities we work. We’re also considering a grassroots campaign that allows our allies and friends to show their support for diversity, equity, and inclusion in higher education and beyond.
While we may not be able to stop the attacks or defeat each piece of legislation filed, we will continue to do our part to amplify the benefits of our collective endeavors and the moral imperative that institutions have to dismantle oppressive systems. We will continue to be a resource and supportive community for you.
On behalf of the NADOHE Board of Directors, we stand in community with all of you, and we will defend the work that has not been completed — to create a more just and equitable higher education and nation. Our work is too important.
Paulette Granberry Russell, J.D.