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. 

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