U of Idaho President urges supporters of higher ed to make voices heard in funding fight

MOSCOW, Idaho — The president of the University of Idaho says special interest groups with a “libertarian-based ideology” are putting in jeopardy funding for higher education in the state.

In a letter sent to friends and alumni Monday, President Scott Green said supporters need to make their voices heard as the legislature prepares to debate a new funding bill.

The bill was voted down in the House last week, with Republicans complaining that colleges and universities were indoctrinating students with leftist social justice activism.

The lawmakers criticized higher education for promoting thikngs like critical race theory.

In his letter, Scott called the criticism “misinformation and half-truths.”

“There is a troubling void of voices in the legislature standing up for the principles of critical thinking, the pursuit of knowledge, and the ability of students and faculty to explore ideas, examine the facts, and come to their own conclusions,” Scott’s letter said.

“We have consistently and repeatedly told legislators that our industries demand critical thinkers,” he wrote. “But without our industries delivering the same message to our legislators, it falls flat. There is a strong demand for a highly educated and diverse work force, a need Idaho’s universities are working hard to deliver.”

Scott said the four-year institutions have already agreed to hold tuition flat if the governor’s budget is flat.

“Defunding the state’s four-year institutions will make it even harder for industry to attract the workforce they need to grow in this state. This is a message I have heard over and over again,” Scott said.

“The denigration of opportunities for the children of our state, together with the false narrative that a college degree is not valuable, are having a chilling effect on applications within the state of Idaho. In-state applications are down over 11%, a trend that is counter to the rest of the country (we are seeing dramatic increase in applications from other states),” he wrote.

Scott ended his letter by urging people who support higher education to make their voices heard.

“Showing support at this moment now is critical. The health of our educational institutions, state and your business depend on it.”