Diversity, I.E. Mandatory Uniformity, At Universities

Artist rendering of the god Diversity.

Regular readers will recall I lost one university job when I gave an incorrect answer to the two gentlemen interviewing me. The question put was, “Have you been involved in any Diversity initiatives?”

I said that since I was a one-man shop that therefore I was “maximally diverse.” There was a warm chuckle from my judges, and my application was forwarded to human “resources” with the box being unchecked. That was the last I heard from them.

This was for the best because, if hired, I would have refused to participate in any such “initiatives”, because, I say, they cause vastly more harm than any good they might do. And then I would have got fired, which would be worse than never having had the job at all.

This brings us to the now-unsurprising headline: “Universities require scholars pledge commitment to diversity“. The headline is inspired by a report from the Oregon Association of Scholars, an affiliate of the National group, “The Imposition of Diversity Statements on Faculty Hiring and Promotion at Oregon Universities.”

According to the news report:

More than 20 colleges have a stated requirement that faculty must show their commitment to the ideals of “diversity, equity, and inclusion,” reports the Oregon Association of Scholars. The actual figure is likely much higher, however. A quick google search of a school’s name and “diversity statement” reveals that many institutions require such statements for entrance into PhD programs or application for faculty positions…

Similarly, the 10-campus University of California system implemented mandatory diversity statement for all new hires, and the specific criteria used to evaluate a candidate’s commitment to diversity includes whether a scholar’s research addresses “race, gender, economic justice or inequality,”…

So the only hires will be ideologues and those willing to fib—or lie—about their undying love and devotion of Diversity. A stimulating intellectual environment this will not engender.

Before looking at the Oregon report, let’s cast our eyes dimly back to the 2009. Then, Virginia Tech University “recently modified their list of tenure criteria to include (try not to be drinking anything as you read further) that professors demonstrate a ‘commitment to diversity.'”

The guidelines (then, I haven’t rechecked them) said “The university and college committees require special attention to be given to documenting involvement in diversity initiatives” before tenure is granted.

Ideological purity is thus nothing new.

The Oregon report emphasizes this. “As these new ideological litmus tests spread throughout the state, faculty will spend more time signaling their zealous support and making sure not to challenge students in ways that might be construed as a threat to this ideology.”

Lowlights from the report:

Universities today, including all major colleges and universities in Oregon, are pouring millions of dollars each year into “diversity training”, “diversity action plans”, and “diversity councils” even as student tuition rises…

Faculty are being coached by paid “diversity consultants” on how to survive the ideological minefield of the diversity statement, learning how to signal their zealous support for this ideology and how to write hyperbolic “contribution to diversity statements.”…

…diversity statements are a de facto tool to weed out non-left wing scholars… a former anthropology professor at the University of Oregon wrote that her diversity statement would include discussions of “how to keep the white students from dominating all classroom discussions”, how not to “thoughtlessly reproduce the standard white and Western model of legitimate knowledge”, and how to “reflect a commitment to queer visibility.” [Queer in the original meaning of the word, yes.]…

…A conservative who wrote a diversity statement that rejected victimization and entitlement narratives would make it easy for a typically left-leaning department “to determine whether you are going to be the kind of colleague the department wants to have.”…

The University of Oregon even insists with Orwellian candor that campus thought-police should implement measures that “incentivize the desired behavior while also consistently interrupting behavior that is inconsistent with equity and inclusion” so defined…

OHSU’s Diversity Action Plan introduces Orwellian requirements for unit leaders to “track and report individual and group participation in diversity events” among their staff.

Oh, there’s no point to going on.

Update Colleges Pay Diversity Officers More Than Professors, Staff. Golly.

16 Comments

  1. I’m of the same persuasion as you, Briggs with regard to the harmful effects of diversity initiatives (of all kinds). That said, I also readily recognize that bias, even unintentional bias (not only racial or the like) influences our thinking in decision making, especially when it comes to hiring, admitting etc. But rather than creating a quota system, which has the detrimental effects you’ve so often described, why not simply remove any personally identifiable information from the application? No names (because we know certain groups of people’s parents seem to feel the need to imbue their progeny with names that easily identify them as being from a particular group), no addresses, no photos. Simply redact the things that might encourage bias and strive to implement a process that is as close to a meritocracy as possible – merit being blind. That and, with regard to university degrees, rather than dumbing the program down so that we can claim 100% participation and graduation from a 4-year school, emphasize the value of trades which will continue to be important (plumbing, electrician, airplane mechanic, farming etc.) to our society, even a society driven by information rather than “product”. The reality is that everyone is not destined for a degree in women’s studies. The idea that a farmer needs a 4-year degree from a university in “growing” with a minor in international relations (as opposed to an apprenticeship on an actual farm) in order to be able to manage crops in Iowa is a bit silly. Nevertheless, the farm trade is and will continue to be important to all… so we should encourage the best and brightest who are endowed with a green thumb to pursue the trade.

  2. You claim membership in the Christian faith/church (small c) which is the most diverse group deliberately assembled (“every tribe, every nation”) and not merely at one time, but over a couple of thousand years of past time and more into the future. So you’re “maximally diverse” in a couple of ways. What’s the problem?

  3. When the Soylent Corporation launches it’s IPO, Al Gore, Hillary Clinton and Nancy Polocy will be big investors. So will the big universities’ endowment trusts. SOYLENT GREEN IS PEOPLE!

  4. Being a traditional Catholic (i.e., a Catholic), I suppose I can, in these dark days, be labeled as someone who has a commitment to perversity. So be it, and these professional liars be damned.

  5. So, do not attend, is send your children to, those universities.

    As long as so-called conservatives state one thing while acting in the opposite, the left wins.

    Support universities that hold to your values. But if you go to one of the ultra-leftist ones so that you can display their diploma, you are acting hypothetically, at best. (I would claim that validation from leftists with regard to you knowledge ranks higher than your stated values)

    “Look world, I am proud to hold a diploma from a university that (supposedly) stands against all my values. Sure I am outraged by the university’s stated values … but did I mention the diploma?”

  6. I live in Fairfax, Virginia and we have a science and technology high school. The diversitycrats always have their knickers in a knot because the students are mostly Caucasian and Asian boys. The diversitycrats are continually complaining about the lack of women, blacks and Hispanics in the school and trying to figure out some way to get more of them in. One college I read about required a 650 mathsat grade to be admitted to the college of engineering. When it was discovered this requirement had an adverse impact on women and minorities, it was dropped. It just wasn’t helping diversity. Of course, as an engineering major you have to pass the freshman calculus course and that requires some math aptitude. The mathsat was an indication that students could pass the calculus course, not to mention differential equations, complex variables and vector analysis, and statistics.

  7. Perhaps the solution is to have the US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) revisit Gratz v Bollinger (where Univ. of Michigan’s race-based admissions policy was deemed permissible by a deeply divided court) – http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-supreme-court/539/244.html (and do read, if at all interested, the actual SCOTUS decision as opposed to the pervasively biased, and ignorant, press reports of the same case).

    Or, perhaps we don’t understand the deeper implications and issues…such as explained by this purportedly ex-Trump supporter: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lpzVc7s-_e8

  8. Diversity officers. Jeuh.

    And people were wondering whether there would be enough work for humans after the robots have taken over.

    Apparently there will be plenty of work, as long as you don’t mind joining the Stasi.

  9. If you’re concerned about institutions of higher education, i.e. those with traditional values, and where to send your children, investigate colleges following a Great Books program; see
    http://www.bestcollegereviews.org/features/best-great-book-programs/
    Of those listed, I’d recommend Thomas Aquinas, Thomas More, Hillsdale and St. John’s (although I’ve heard from friends of my son, that diversity is rearing its ugly head at Santa Fe). The others I’m not familiar with.

  10. Do you think it would it be enough to pledge not to discriminate in matters of teaching, grading, mentorship, or other direct or ancillary duties of a professor (while maintaining your beliefs in matters irrelevant to the position, and even reserving the right to speak of your beliefs in public)?

  11. Here’s a nice summary of the historical changes in the university system thru about 2005: http://www.weeklystandard.com/article/7314

    The author presents an optimistic outlook that the left-leaning trend might fizzle out under its own vacuousness…but as we’ve seen since, that has not only not happened, things have gotten worse. Our “intellectual” centers of knowledge have transformed into vast emotional swamps of multicultural victimhood, offended by any idea that they don’t like — and this seems to represent the Democratic Party. Like radical professors, no longer are the Democrats bothered by pesky ideas, which might actually have to be defended by reason and logic. No, they rely almost totally on the primacy of their feelings, which they proudly point out need no defense, since they are honest feelings. In the bizarro world of academe, “truth” is now defined by anyone who “believes” something is true; not by any facts or even by objective reality. Instead of pursuing reason and fostering independent thinking, colleges and universites which were once centers of knowledge and learning, have become temples dedicated to the worship of emotion, run by high priests of mediocrity.

    Events in the world of reality these so-called “intellectuals” have not been able to accept or even understand include the collapse of the Soviet Union and communism(an unforseen disaster); the failure of socialism and the welfare state and the continued erosion of life in those nations that embrace it; as well as the rise and resiliance of the U.S. and the market economy to world-wide dominance was not predicted by their ideologies.

    Having lost the Cold War, they now intend to dress up their socialist/communist agenda in a new set of anti-U.S., anti-Israel; anti-Freedom; anti-Democracy; anti-Capitalism clothing. But even after 20 or more years, the emperor is still naked. Genocide is tolerated if it comes from their side of the political spectrum. Moral equivalence is applied to situations that demand moral judgement. Freedom of speech is touted, unless they don’t like what you say. Their so-called dedication to free thought has been fully exposed as a mask under which they freely censor all thought that contradicts their perspective. This they call “political correctness” and “multiculturalism”; and it has become a horrible sickness at the core of the academy. One could go on, but why waste time documenting what has already been documented everywhere.

    Think about what the postmodern left’s PC and multicultural gurus preach in their high-minded, superior rhetoric that inevitably brands anyone who dares to disagree with a racist label. Then WATCH WHAT THEIR RHETORIC ACTUALLY BRINGS ABOUT in real life. This PC dogma glorifies sexual, cultural and tribal differences, no matter how insane or irrational. Multiculturalism (one form of “diversity”) teaches that what is truly important above all else is belonging to one’s sexual, racial, ethnic, or religious identity, and not that one also belongs to the family of humanity. If the former is held superior, then “social withdrawal” from community and a pervasive distrust of other groups follows quite naturally; including conflicts between different nations, religions and ethnic groups. The common thread is a commitment to disharmony and, lurking beneath the overt moral relativism, is a grandiose sense of entitlement from each group as it jockeys for postion in the victimhood status heirarchy.

    And running through it all, like a river of denial and projection, is a vast, pervasive cluelessness. A lack of insight or self-awareness so incredible and so blindingly transparent that it is almost awe-inspiring in its magnitude. This kind of mindless emoting in lock- step on the part of large numbers of the “intellectual elite” is a Totalitarian’s dream! The slogans and banners are the stuff of dictator’s fantasies. For these professors and their minions, the mindset of Orwell’s 1984 is a deliberate lifestyle choice.

    Therein lies the risk — a charismatic politician (an anti-Hillary) could easily tap into the vapid emotional reasoning of the Left and trigger an election win-by-landslide … and if competent (unlike Obama), there’s no imagining the kind of damage they might cause. That is the festering risk…. The really destructive maniacs of this world don’t run around with weapons. They work calmly, behind a keyboard, churning out one Five Year Plan after the other; drawing with geometric precision, one failed worker’s paradise on the foundations of the last one failed. Someone once remarked to me that Karl Marx, not Adolf Hitler, was the single most destructive person the German nation ever unleashed upon the world. Not that anyone stops to think about it.

    There is a subtle type of narcissism that is equally (if not more so in human history) destructive and dysfunctional as the overtly selfish “me-Me-ME!” type. It derives from an aggressive idealism/utopianism which is pursued despite the misery it causes in other people’s lives; and despite the dead bodies it leaves behind. This malignant narcissism is always justified because it is “for your own good”; or, “for the common good”; or, “to make the world and people better.” This type of narcissism masks itself in a selfless, compassionate concern for others, yet is really all about fueling the need to feel superior and to exert control and power over others.

    People with this malignantly narcissistic defect completely reject the needs of the individual and enslave him or her as pawns to the service of their IDEAL. Eventually, the enslavement–whether religious or secular–snuffs out human ambition, confidence, energy, self-esteem, and life. These mindlessly malignant “do-gooders” do far more harm than good and their ideologies can lead to genocidal practices and unbelievable atrocities on a grand scale, all in the name of an IDEAL or GOD.

    At least the selfish narcissist is limited in the chaos and havoc he wreaks. But, the “really destructive maniacs of this world” are the ones who do it for your own good.

    Consider how such a leader could weasel their way into power with a supportive public: The National Association of Scholars published in 2012, a Crisis of Competence, The Corrupting Effect of Political Activism in the University of California” — which could apply to the majority of national universities (see: http://www.nas.org/images/documents/A_Crisis_of_Competence.pdf). Here’s a finding: Numerous studies of both the UC system and of higher education nationwide demonstrate that students who graduate from college are increasingly ignorant of history and literature. They are unfamiliar with the principles of American constitutional government. And they are bereft of the skills necessary to comprehend serious books and effectively marshal evidence and argument in written work.

    The cluelessness of the intellectual elite is being recreated in students after a fashion — students who are graduated into society with severely impaired critical thinking skills. Edmond Burke, when he observed that “all that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing’ probably couldn’t fathom a future in which ‘good men’ have been conditioned to such an extent that nothing, or little more, is about all one could reasonably expect from their best efforts.

  12. Jim and Brian,
    If you frequent this blog site you are doomed to catch the Briggs typoo virus?

  13. I’m having trouble posting; Great firewall of China? Anyway, thanks to Bill S for good advice. As much as I’d like to blame software… I’m just a rotten speller.

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