Thursday, August 14, 2003

"What makes us learn? ... Diversity"? 

In the latest American Experiment Quarterly, Katherine Kersten discusses "Why Diversity Stops at the Classroom Door." We've been down this road before -- there's little viewpoint diversity. And it's the view that "skin color and ethnic background ... supposedly make you different, in very important, if ambiguous ways, than your classmates." Her son is a sophomore at St. Olaf, who advertises to prospective students with this gem:
What makes us learn, what makes us better, what makes us think? It's different people from and with different backgrounds. It is diversity. St. Olaf has a vested interest in increasing our campus diversity and enriching our cultural atmosphere. Achieving and maintaining a diverse community is a team effort between the Admissions Office, International Advising, the Multicultural Student Services (MCSS), faculty and students.

St. Olaf develops the mind, body, and spirit through a student body that reflects a diversity of geographic, cultural, economic, racial, ethnic, and religious backgrounds. You may wonder how St. Olaf supports students of varied backgrounds� it all begins with the Admissions Process.

Right. Do you see viewpoint anywhere? Or how about from this list from an article in their student paper? No. Why? Because these backgrounds are assumed proxies for viewpoint. St. Olaf must not have heard of Clarence Thomas.

As Kersten reports, at St. Olaf not one professor could be found to take the pro-war side of a debate on Iraq. Well, who could blame them?

On Friday Feb. 14, students, some professors and President Thomforde protested the war on Iraq outside the cafeteria. Their aim was to promote discussion about the war.
Well, when I want to debate, standing outside a cafeteria in February in Minnesota is always my preferred venue. And most certainly when the college president is in with the protestors. Yes indeed.

Kersten goes with a thorough analysis that relies on Sowell's Conflict of Visions. This reinforces a point I made the other night in a post (that some people think was injudicious) about the venomous intolerance of the left.

The adversary culture, with its unconstrained worldview, holds that people who disagree with it are not just wrong-headed. They are, in a sense, bad people, because they do not have the right intentions. Do you oppose the left's anti-poverty program? Then you don't care about the poor or social justice, or you're greedy. Are you in favor of the war in Iraq? Then you only care about oil, or dominating the world as an American imperialist. On many campuses, this intolerance for divergent (that is, heretical) views is a principal reason that diversity stops at the classroom door.
Overstated, you think? Consider this quote of two professors who despaired for their students not joining her Iraq war protest.
"There's a second when I hear them and my heart just falls."
"We used to like to offend people. We loved being bad, in the sense that we were making a statement. Why is there no joy now?"
That's what passes for higher education today. RTWT.