Friday, July 02, 2004

Revealed preference 

SCSU, under orders from the agreement to settle its anti-Semitism lawsuit, has published a second issue of its diversity newsletter. This includes a description of the Respect and Responsibility indoctrination class that all our students are forced to take. Winston, you should live in this hour!
�The Women�s Center has done an excellent job,� said SCSU Vice President Nathan Church, �but we want to expand Respect and Responsibility beyond a one-shot educational enterprise to help students retain more of the important messages.�

While some students complain about having to take the course, most report that they gained some important insights from it. �It reinforced your belief that we are more similar than different from other people,� one woman wrote. �I learned what anti-Semitism was,� wrote a male
student. �It was good to get an idea of what has happened on campuses before and how we can help to stop sexual assaults in the future,� another wrote.

But while many participants find the two hours enlightening, Church said the collaborative group working with course goals is pursuing ways to reinforce what he refers to as �an understanding of how to become culturally competent.� Ideas being discussed include development of a Respect and Responsibility logo, a series of educational events that could follow the successful model of the Women�s Center�s �Women on Wednesday� program, and a poster campaign and other reinforcement efforts in the residence halls.

Where do you begin? The insipid list of ideas to increase "cultural competency"? What does "cultural competency" mean? The vacuity of cherrypicking three written comments from the more than 4000 students being subjected to this PC hell? Or wondering what "important messages" it is that VP Church wants students to retain more of?

The whole enterprise is revealing. The university suffers from lawsuit after lawsuit, and so it creates more and more programs to address the perception of embracing diversity (you'll note on page three of the newsletter that there are two more diversity positions to be filled by facutly on campus -- cheer up, adjuncts! Soon you will be the only ones left actually teaching courses here!). It uses the homepage of the university to tout a faculty member with a Ph.D in multicultural education. (No, RP, I've no idea what that means, either.) It's not even the first time they've advertised her -- here's the same page, dated May 5.) And it even creates an extra course in "racial issues" within its general education curriculum, when nine distribution hours for "diversity" courses were already in place. (This will teach them about those icky mascots.) But it has bought them no relief from threats of legal action while perverting the curriculum to the point where a requirement to come to SCSU is an academic activity like R&R that has never been subject to the curriculum process. So why do they do it?