Friday, October 07, 2005

“Diversity Training” at Madison

Via Letters in Bottles:

A great column from a Madison graduate student about “diversity” training required of all teaching assistants there. She describes a “workshop” she was required to attend.
Famished and still trying to understand the purpose of this workshop, I raised my hand from the back of the room to ask a simple question — or so I thought: “How do we define diversity?” The moderator was most likely taken back by the question and engaged in the oldest ruse in the book when unsure of the answer — throw the question out to the group. For once, a packed room of graduate students was silent.

Why wasn’t I surprised?

I find it ironic the pith of the training couldn’t be defined. While a definition wasn’t provided, the message of the training was ostensibly apparent: Don’t say anything that might offend any group of people who are perceived to be socially disadvantaged or marginalized.

This seemingly innocuous message does nothing more than suffocate free speech and engage the university in inducing thought reform.

Such policies as speech codes and mandatory diversity training on our nation’s college campuses are blatant violations of freedom of speech, conscience, and thought. More simply, they put the nail in the coffin when it comes to the pursuit of truth and knowledge.

The university, through this training, forces graduate students to consume what is considered to be “politically correct” by those in Bascom Hall in regards to ethnicity, race and equality, among other issues. For every student who agrees with these views, though, there is another student who disagrees. Unfortunately, students are not asked to respectfully debate these issues in an open forum like mature adults, but rather they are forced to accept the viewpoints of the organizers and leaders of these training sessions.
The writer, a political science graduate student named Darryn Beckstrom, is a gutsy young lady. It’s not really prudent, these days, to offend the politically correct powers that be.

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