Protests prompt new diversity programming nationwide
- The University of Missouri at Columbia has instituted mandatory workshops for students to discuss and learn about diversity through cultural exchange. Oregon State University and Virginia Tech are following suit with courses on social justice, aimed at exposing and analyzing social biases among students.
- Critics say diversity efforts condensed to one conversation or offered only during orientation can get lost in the multitude of messages. “They’re not all that excited to sit through one session after another on one topic after another. I’m afraid that some diversity discussions get sort of lost because it’s all too much,” University of Pennsylvania Center for the Study of Race and Equity in Education Executive Director Shaun Harper told Inside Higher Ed.
- Some research suggests mandatory diversity training or courses create deeper bias and resentment among students and faculty, and can come with high costs for implementation.
Many college executives have the wrong impression about campus cultural and social issues; it is not the duty of the university community to stop bias, or violence, or any other unpredictable, uncontrollable behavior a person can commit against another person. It is the duty of the institution to have resources, policies and messaging to alert students about the consequences of such actions, and to afford due process and punishment when they are actually committed.
This is why, as undesirable as the method eventually became, the letter from the University of Chicago dean of students could be viewed as rallying cry for the growing chorus against racial tolerance. And what happens if students and families who oppose the diversity push take their tuition or donor dollars elsewhere? College leaders have the unenviable position of trying to balance the noble cause of diversity, against the reality of racial divide which colleges have, for too many generations, fueled along lines of economics and educational access.
- Inside Higher Ed Renewed Diversity Push