Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Failing at intellectual diversity 

A new report from the American Council of Trustees and Alumni states that American universities are failing to meet their own stated goals of intellectual diversity.
In September 2005, the American Council of Trustees and Alumni sent a letter to all 30 signatories, heads of the major public universities in each state, as well as the presidents and chancellors of the top 25 National Universities and the top 25 Liberal Arts Colleges ranked by U.S. News & World Report, asking them to document statements made about the important ACE statement. ACTA also requested information about any steps taken to implement the principles of the ACE statement.

Not one of the more than 100 institutions who received ACTA�s letter reported specific concrete steps to implement the principles. Instead, most respondents cited existing policies as already satisfactory. The most proactive was the University of Oregon where President David Frohnmayer reports that his deans had a �work session� on the ACE principles. He did not report any upshot of the session. The president of one of the signatories, the American Association of Colleges and Universities, promises to issue a statement that will be �consistent� with the ACE statement, but does not promise any steps to implement it.
Why would anyone be surprised by this? The report calls for the elimination of speech codes on campuses, cracking down on hecklers and stopping the harassment of groups that invite speakers who don't agree with the dominant paradigm on our campuses. Instead the campuses continue to think of diversity more as stereotypes.