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Boise State University suspends classes amid budget controversy

Boise State University suspends classes after student complaints
Posted at 3:33 PM, Mar 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-19 10:13:45-04

BOISE, Idaho — Boise State University announced this week it would suspend 52 University Foundation 200 courses listed as ethics credits and are required to graduate. The decision comes after complaints from students.

In a statement, Boise State University said:

We have been made aware of a series of concerns, culminating in allegations that a student or students have been humiliated and degraded in class on our campus for their beliefs and values. This is never acceptable; it is not what Boise State stands for; and we will not tolerate this behavior.

Given the weight of cumulative concerns, we have determined that, effective immediately, we must suspend UF 200. In conjunction with academic leadership, we will determine next steps to ensure that everyone is still able to complete the course over the coming week and will communicate with all students in these classes. While an in-depth review of this course was already underway, we must be responsive to these specific allegations and ensure that this and all our courses live up to this standard of mutual respect.

Further, we will develop and deliver a series of professional development sessions for faculty on fostering learning environments characterized by mutual respect.

Finally, we have created a purpose-specific mid-term evaluation for students in UF 200 that will invite all enrolled students to share their experience as members of the course community. As always, students have multiple options for reporting instructor bias, including anonymous reporting.

Boise State University is committed to ensuring that each and every one of our students is treated with respect, and that all have the right to hold and to voice their own personal and political beliefs. Our campus is richer, and learning is made more effective because people of all backgrounds and beliefs are invited to meet, exchange ideas, and learn together."
Boise State University

Boise State didn't immediately indicate what course was under review.

These are the same courses that drew criticism from some conservative lawmakers stating the university was teaching students what to think about social justice issues. The State Senate passed a bill Wednesday that would cut over $400,000 in Boise State's proposed budget and move it to Lewis-Clark State College.

"That number didn't just fall out of the sky, as reported we went to Boise State University and asked how much they were putting into Social Justice programs...that's the number," said Senator Carl Crabtree.

Boise State would not comment on proposed budget cuts but said the suspension of these courses was based solely on the complaints of students and were not connected to the concerns of lawmakers. Now that the proposed budget has passed the Senate it now goes to the House.

This budget would also require the institutions to report back to the legislature how much money it spends on social justice programs, though the money given to the schools through this bill cannot be used for those programs.

The bill approved in the Senate breaks down how much each institution will receive from the Idaho Legislature:

  • Boise State University - $264,658,300.00
  • Idaho State University - $143,057,200.00
  • University of Idaho - $173,690,900.00
  • Lewis-Clark State College - $43,770,700.00

In the Statehouse, chair for the house education committee, Representative Barabra Ehardt said "There has been much conversation on the direction of Idaho’s institutions of higher education and their adoption of diversity, equity and inclusion programs as well as their emphasis on critical race theory. I am very glad to see this move in the right direction. It is a reflection of the Idaho way."

Boise State University said students have multiple ways to report bias in the classroom:

  1. File an Academic Grievance triggering a review under Boise State Policy 3140.
  2. Report bias based on a protected class to Institutional Compliance, triggering an investigation under Boise State's Non-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment Policy.
  3. Submit a CARE report, initiating a review of the complaint by the Dean of Students
  4. Students who wish to report concerns anonymously may do so through Boise State's Compliance Reporting Hotline.

Reporting options and resources are also found on the university's Report a Concern website.