by Brendan Pringle
Cal Poly - San Luis Obispo is working hard to stay competitive
these days in a market that is dominated by "diversity"
Its strategy? Create more administrative positions, and then
offer classes to justify their efforts.
Despite budget cuts and tuition increases, the campus
hired two new people in its admissions department tasked with
boosting diversity, and has also hired an executive director of
diversity and inclusivity. Their salaries are covered by a
Student Success Fee of
$160 per quarter (tacked on to tuition).
Erin Echols, Cal Poly's coordinator of multicultural programs
and services, claims that non-white prospective students experience
"culture shock" when they visit the campus. Echols also
says that Cal Poly sees diversity in the applications they receive,
but "not in the acceptances."
Could she be suggesting that Cal Poly needs to implement a
racial-based quota system for minority groups? Is the current
merit-based system too dated and not "inclusive" enough for the
In addition, the university is offering a
new, four-unit class (PSY 303 - Intergroup Dialogues) this
quarter to advance the need for "diversity".
According to Cal Poly's former
Associate Vice President of Inclusive Excellence David Conn,
students meet together for the quarter to "learn the difference
between debate and dialogue, and discuss timely issues from their
various viewpoints," Conn said.
These words are ironic coming from an administrator who filed a
complaint to the university president after YAF activists hosted
bestselling conservative author Ann Coulter at the campus. Conn
also held a
special meeting following the event as if the speaking
engagement was a major campus scandal.
Obviously, other motives are at play here.
When asked to explain the importance of the class, Conn directly
alluded to the concept of
"Most white people, myself included, don't think about being
white," Conn said. "That's one of the privileges we have, whereas
most people of color have to think about it because our society
forces that onto them."
Conn is a bit dismayed that the class has filled up with white
females, but says that "his vision" is that "every student who
comes to Cal Poly should have at least the opportunity to take an
intergroup dialogues class."
Why? Because "[we] need to prepare all students, not just
minority students or white students … to go out into a world where
they are going to be faced with, and hopefully work productively
with, people who are different from themselves."
In other words, college students need to repeat the lessons they
learned in kindergarten because people like Conn have deemed them
"unprepared" to face a world where people look and behave
differently from themselves.
Somehow, I think most students would disagree with this
With higher education suffering and the numbers of unemployed
graduates at record levels, shouldn't our universities be focusing
on more important issues like, say, career training?
Brendan Pringle is a development officer with Young