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  • Excellence in DiversityBy Brendan Pringle

    For many years now, America's universities have resorted to using diversity as a means to enhance their reputations. These efforts have culminated in what the Association of American Colleges and Universities ("AAC&U") now calls the "Making Excellence Inclusive" Initiative. This initiative is "designed to help colleges and universities fully integrate diversity, equity, and educational quality efforts into their missions and institutional operations".

    The definition sounds harmless, but in practice, the AAC&U is encouraging universities to redefine its educational priorities and adopt more aggressive racial preferences programs as it selects its students and faculty.

    As Denver University describes the initiative: "Inclusiveness and Excellence are merged and considered one and the same as opposed to the traditional perspective that separates the two concepts. To practice inclusiveness is excellence".

    Since when are the two concepts "one and the same"? Shouldn't the world of academia be focused on academics?

    Liberal administrators are gaining momentum from a national movement that seeks to dumb down higher education. Instead of providing a rigorous academic environment for students, universities are shifting their focus to "socialization".

    When Ann Coulter visited Cal Poly State University, the school's Inclusive Excellence Council filed a complaint and held a hearing about Ann Coulter's visit to the university, lamenting that during her Q-and-A, Coulter attempted to "intimidate" and "demean" students who sought to challenge her views. Ironically, the administrator that filed the complaint did not even attend the event. 

    This initiative is simply another way for universities and colleges to become a bully for liberal causes rather than stand up for the marketplace of ideas. Students (and parents) aren't spending thousands of dollars in tuition every year for a glorified form of sensitivity training.

    Beyond this, the link between Inclusive Excellence and the use of racial preferences is unmistakable.

    One AAC&U-sponsored essay comments extensively on the necessity of increasing the number of racially/ethnically diverse students as part of a "comprehensive plan to make excellence inclusive".

    San Jose State University, a "model" campus for the AAC&U's initiatives, has hand-picked "diverse" faculty search committees and is now training department chairs and committees to accomplish this objective.

    This group would naturally feel coerced to choose the most "diverse" candidates in the pool over those who may be more qualified.

    At CSU Long Beach, a new "Essentials for Managers Certificate Program" includes "diversity recruitment strategies" and a "Supervisory Skills Certificate Program" at the university includes "diversity training".

    Deans at CSULB feel similar pressure, as the Office of Equity and Diversity provides them with data from an annual Affirmative Action Report "that reveals any instances of underutilization on the basis of race or gender in their respective departments".

    The world of academia is assuming consensus on a matter that affects the future career prospects of its students. By shifting the focus from academics, participating institutions are sacrificing their own prestige and the value of their degrees for the sake of political correctness.

    Brendan Pringle is a Development Officer with Young America's Foundation. 

    • Readers' Comments

    • This is a very insightful article about the state of our universities and colleges - and alarming. This has been an insidious move over several decades, and we are now seeing the result - not only are our children dumbed down in government education, but now parents are being hoodwinked in to paying thousands and tens of thousands of dollars for the same pile of horse manure. Please continue to offer the truth about what is really happening in the world of higher education - as a mother and a teacher, I appreciate your dedication and passion.
      Posted by Jennifer on 12/02/2012
    • I am a university prof and I can tell you what is really dumbing down higher education: students. Students raised in an atmosphere of gross materialism that has lost all perspective on its humanity. In a literature course that I just finished teaching I had to cut a book out of the syllabus because students simply refused to do the assigned reading. I had to let them off the hook on an essay assignment because they simply refused to do it. Class session after class session I looked out, not at faces, but at the back of laptop screens as the students in my seminar preferred to chat on facebook rather than interact in the course and discuss the material. Do you want to know from what racial group these rude, unmotivated, self-created ignoramuses came? White, Middle class America. Since I teach abroad I have very few Black students but, guess what? Every one that I have ever had has been worth 100 over-privileged white students in desire, enthusiasm, and usually outcome. The real problem in higher education these days, from this literature prof.'s viewpoint, is the capitalist agenda that has destroyed the value of the humanities and measures education solely in its money-making abilities. It's time to put money-making enterprises like business and PR (the dreaded communications major that has become such a joke among serious academics) back into vocational schools and let the universities get back to doing what they were created to do--increase knowledge rather than dilute it or spin it for use in the marketplace. If you turn human beings into commodities--business majors--it's no wonder that all they can think to do is to escape from learning at every possible opportunity into parties, alcohol, and travel--somewhere inside they are yearning to be human beings again and I believe these are the only forms of self-expression left them. Literature, written human expression, and humanity itself have become "boring" to students raised to think only of material gain as valuable in their lives and who have had words drained of all meaning by pundits and so-called news agencies trying to manipulate them into becoming a slave class. One way to help the over-privileged, commodity student is to mix them with students from other walks of life, other experience, other values in order to give them a fuller perspective--and often merely so that they can see what the desire to learn looks like!
      Posted by Lee Foust on 12/05/2012
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