Tuesday, September 30, 2003

HURL Follies II: Diversity not served by the escape from poverty 

At first I thought this HURL offering, the second in our series, would be dull. Here's the course description.
HURL 413/513 Diversity in the Workplace. Examination of institutional policies and personal (sic) practices pertaining to harassment and discrimination in the workplace based on gender, race, national origin, religion, disability, sexual orientation and class. Knowledge and skills to enhance a constructive work environment for respect and equality.
The inclusion of class was kind of strange, insofar as they are not part of the law of workplace harassment and discrimination. But it was only in reading one of the course objectives that its meaning became clear.
Exploration of national and international debates which provide a societal context in which workplace oppression occurs; affirmative action, EEO policies, immingration status, NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement), GATT (General Agree on Trade and Tariffs)(sic), export of jobs to other countries, elimination of jobs through technology.
Again, this is a course called "Diversity in the Workplace". In what way is this objective germane? And their proposed course outline has 15% for "NAFTA, GATT export of jobs to other countries, elimination of jobs through technology." Why? Any chance their students would see even The Commanding Heights? Not bloody likely. This never ceases to amaze me. Do they really think child labor is a 20th century phenomenon created by multinational corporations? You have to have a pretty poor grasp of history to think that.

And there's little doubt that they want to turn students towards activism. The last 20% of the course is outlined as "[p]ursuit of descriptive and constructive ways of dealing with conflict and of channeling personal power toward cultural and social structural change in the workplace."