Gov. Kristi Noem won’t hand control of a “whistleblower” tip line for complaints about progressivism on college campuses to the state agency that oversees higher education in South Dakota.
Amid pressure from the Republican governor to reign in “liberal ideologies” at public universities, the South Dakota Board of Regents requested the governor allow the regents administrative office to handle the telephone message system going forward.
Since the tipline was set up in May, the governor’s office contends the line has fielded dozens of reports of alleged inappropriate activities and teachings at South Dakota’s public universities, including mask shaming, racial directives and the pressuring of students to conform to liberal ideologies.
Those complaints have been relayed to the regents by the governor’s office in a series of letters, most recently in August when the governor called on them to investigate the allegations, which included highlighting a South Dakota State University class that used a “Table of Privilege” as required course materials.
Regents say they could better vet complaint calls
While addressing a handful of those complaints during a meeting Thursday in Rapid City, Regent Vice President Jeff Partridge said the board could better vet reports coming from the tip line if it were to assume control of it.
“We have made a formal request to take over and manage that tip line,” he said. “We want to help manage this, and we already receive a number of suggestions and frustrations from campuses.”
The governor’s office, which has recently found itself at odds with the regents on how to respond to concerns about progressivism on college campuses, will not oblige.
Citing the value of the input received, Noem’s spokesman Ian Fury told The Dakota Scout that the governor’s office has no intention of relinquishing control of the tip line.
Hotline has been ‘extremely effective,’ Noem’s office claims
“The whistleblower hotline has been extremely effective to make sure that concerns are heard and hopefully addressed by the Board of Regents,” Noem’s spokesperson Ian Fury said. “There are no planned changes in how the hotline is being administered at this time.”
Fury’s comments came after regent leadership earlier in the day said they would not adhere to a demand from the governor that drag shows be prohibited from college campuses. However, not all of Noem’s concerns were dismissed. The regents noted that a South Dakota State University course that required “Table of Privilege” as part of class materials is no longer a required course.
THE DAKOTA SCOUT: Board of Regents at odds with Noem on drag shows
Taking over the hotline, Partridge said, would ensure valid complaints that come in are handled swiftly and efficiently.
“We would be able to be efficient in dealing with these in a very timely manner,” he said. “Taking on tip line types of requests and thoughts, and then reporting them in some kind of letter is not efficient.”