Thursday, November 03, 2005

Arts College Strategic Plan Has Racial Quota, Contradicts Provost’s Definition of “Diversity”

We have a copy of the Arts & Sciences “Strategic Plan” which is presumably a draft (nobody at the Arts College who could confirm the status is in right now).

It lists as “Goal 2” the desire to “Develop a strong College presence and enhanced opportunities for learning about diversity and multicultural issues.” Anybody familiar with academic bureaucratese knows that this is a euphemism for “more politically correct instruction in victim studies.”

The document goes on (Action C.2) to propose to “increase the number of faculty in all disciplines from underrepresented communities. . . . ” It then declares (“Outcome C.3 ”): “By the end of the three-year period for which the strategic goals are relevant (2006-2009), the college would hope to have made at least four hires of persons of color to the faculty.”

This, quite simply, is a racial quota. One could argue, of course, that this is merely a hope, and that nothing here is going to force anybody to discriminate against a white to hire a minority. But people tend to do what is necessary to achieve the “goals” and “outcomes” they have promised to achieve. Any faculty in any department in the College will know that, if they hire a minority, they are “helping the College achieve its Strategic Plan.”

That the document promises “persons of color” rather than “diverse hires” is significant. Provost Madeline Wake has declared a different view of “diversity:”
“Diversity candidates” is defined as different from White Americans and includes those from under-represented groups, such as, African Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Native Americans as well as foreign born individuals, such as those from Eastern Europe, Africa, and Asia.
The Arts & Sciences Strategic Plan seems to drop all pretense of defining “diversity” in ways (different nationalities) that might have something to do with real diverse viewpoints, and makes it clear that it’s politically correct victim groups that are to be hired.

But even more suspect, academically and intellectually, is the promise (“Outcome A”) that “By 2009, the College will have developed, gained academic approval of, and implemented a program or departmental structure in Ethnic studies.” And further: “Five cluster hires will have been made to support an interdisciplinary program or department in ethnic studies.”

Academic Ghetto

While in principle “ethnic studies” is a legitimate field of study, in practice it’s typically nothing more or less than politically correct victim studies.

Of the two possibilities, an “ethnic studies” program or an “ethnic studies” department, the first is far preferable. Ethnic studies departments typically become leftist ghettos. Of course, that’s also true of a lot of established departments at Marquette. But putting the “ethnic studies” hires in existing departments provides some accountability to broader academic standards.

But even “ethnic studies” hires in existing departments are a bad idea. Given that there is currently a freeze on new faculty lines in Arts & Sciences, this holds out the likelihood that real hiring needs will be short changed so that the College can be more politically correct and “diverse.”

If faculty – and especially the heavily liberal and politically correct faculty in existing departments – don’t feel the need for “ethnic studies” experts (or won’t trade off another hire for one in ethnic studies), that’s clear evidence that the faculty lines are needed elsewhere.

A final problem with an “ethnic studies” department or major is that it will encourage the ghettoization of minority students. Instead of majoring in Finance so they can go out and make money, or majoring in Philosophy so they can go to graduate school, they will be encouraged to go into a major where developing a sense of aggrievement is stressed.

Which means they will be developing the sort of attitudes that their leftist professors like, but not the sort that make for success in the real world.

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