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Some not-so-surprising reasons tuition is being hiked at the University of Iowa

In a nutshell: $30,000 on new pro-transgender bathroom signs, rolling out a Bias Assessment and Response Team, and more mandatory diversity classes

On July 18, the Iowa Board of Regents will vote on a proposed tuition increase for the University of Iowa (among other public institutions of higher learning in the state).

As The Daily Iowan reports, UI students already faced a tuition hike, noting last December the state Board of Regents approved a $200 tuition increase for resident undergraduates and a $502 increase for nonresident undergrads. Now, regents will likely hike that further.

“Altogether, if the UI proposal is approved, regent documents show that resident undergraduates will see a total increase of $500 beginning in the fall semester with nonresidents seeing a $902 increase in their tuition,” the Iowan reports.

According to documents before the regents, “the proposed tuition increase will assist the universities in managing inflationary expenses, meeting mandated salary, and directing these revenues to support teaching and student needs.”

Meanwhile, the University of Iowa is spending away on all those “student needs.” Needs such as … $30,000 for pro-transgender bathroom signs, for example.

“The University of Iowa plans to spend as much as $30,000 to make bathrooms ‘gender-inclusive,'” reports Heat Street. “It’s a surprising sum, given that the facilities on campus will remain wholly unchanged. The bathrooms are already single occupancy and open to all students. The only thing the $30K is buying is new signage proclaiming that ‘anyone can use this restroom, regardless of gender identity or expression.'”

Only 20 UI students, by the way, identify as transgender or non-binary, according to campus admissions data.

Another expense to be shouldered by Iowa taxpayers and tuition payments this fall is administrative costs for the university’s new bias response team.

“This fall the UI will launch the Bias Assessment and Response Team (BART) to address incidences of bias,” President Bruce Harreld announced in May after a brutal attack on a black student. Except the brutal assault actually turned out to be a massive hate-crime hoax.

MORE: UI black student active participant and even instigator in fights, police say

But let’s not forget the reasons cited for the tuition hikes include teacher salaries as well.

To that end, the university has created a new diversity requirement that will require more teachers to teach more classes. It is preparing to unleash the new mandate next year.

“The University of Iowa announced … that all incoming students in the university’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences will be required to fulfill a diversity and inclusion curriculum requirement, beginning in 2017,” Insight Into Diversity reports.

“Students in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the university’s largest college, are already required to complete at least three hours of coursework in ‘values, society, and diversity.’ However, some of these class topics include ‘History of Jazz,’ ‘King Arthur Through the Ages,’ and ‘Food in America,’ which many students have complained don’t teach inclusion or prompt deep conversations,” the report added.

“University officials said they hope to eventually expand the diversity and inclusion requirement to other colleges at UI. Until then, administrators are developing a module on diversity and inclusion that will be incorporated into the online ‘Success at Iowa’ course, which all incoming undergraduate students are required to take.”

Behold, Iowa tax dollars and tuition payments hard at work.

In a nutshell: $30,000 on new pro-transgender bathroom signs, rolling out a Bias Assessment and Response Team, and more mandatory diversity and inclusion lessons.

MORE: Meditation rooms or makeshift mosque? U. of Iowa prayer spaces draw scrutiny, criticism

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About the Author
Fix Editor
Jennifer Kabbany is editor-in-chief of The College Fix.