Category Archive 'University of Delaware'

02 Nov 2007

Under FIRE, University of Delaware Ends Brainwashing

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The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) issued a press release on October 30 denouncing a mandatory program reeducating students in politically correct thinking.

The following day much of the conservative portion of the Blogosphere, including this blog, reported and commented on the story.

And, yesterday, November 1, Patrick Harker, president of the University of Delaware, announced the cessation of the thought-reform program.

The University of Delaware strives for an environment in which all people feel welcome to learn, and which supports intellectual curiosity, critical thinking, free inquiry and respect for the views and values of an increasingly diverse population. The University is committed to the education of students as citizens, scholars and professionals and their preparation to contribute creatively and with integrity to a global society. The purpose of the residence life educational program is to support these commitments.

While I believe that recent press accounts misrepresent the purpose of the residential life program at the University of Delaware, there are questions about its practices that must be addressed and there are reasons for concern that the actual purpose is not being fulfilled. It is not feasible to evaluate these issues without a full and broad-based review.

Upon the recommendation of Vice President for Student Life Michael Gilbert and Director of Residence Life Kathleen Kerr, I have directed that the program be stopped immediately. No further activities under the current framework will be conducted.

Vice President Gilbert will work with the University Faculty Senate and others to determine the proper means by which residence life programs may support the intellectual, cultural and ethical development of our students.

31 Oct 2007

University of Delaware Operating Student Thought-Reform Program

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“All whites are racist” according to official policy at the University of Delaware, and students are required to undergo “treatment” and obliged to demonstrate “behavioral changes.”

Foundation for Individual Rights in Education article:

The University of Delaware subjects students in its residence halls to a shocking program of ideological reeducation that is referred to in the university’s own materials as a “treatment” for students’ incorrect attitudes and beliefs. The Orwellian program requires the approximately 7,000 students in Delaware’s residence halls to adopt highly specific university-approved views on issues ranging from politics to race, sexuality, sociology, moral philosophy, and environmentalism. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) is calling for the total dismantling of the program, which is a flagrant violation of students’ rights to freedom of conscience and freedom from compelled speech.

“The University of Delaware’s residence life education program is a grave intrusion into students’ private beliefs,” FIRE President Greg Lukianoff said. “The university has decided that it is not enough to expose its students to the values it considers important; instead, it must coerce its students into accepting those values as their own. At a public university like Delaware, this is both unconscionable and unconstitutional.”

The university’s views are forced on students through a comprehensive manipulation of the residence hall environment, from mandatory training sessions to “sustainability” door decorations. Students living in the university’s eight housing complexes are required to attend training sessions, floor meetings, and one-on-one meetings with their Resident Assistants (RAs). The RAs who facilitate these meetings have received their own intensive training from the university, including a “diversity facilitation training” session at which RAs were taught, among other things, that “[a] racist is one who is both privileged and socialized on the basis of race by a white supremacist (racist) system. The term applies to all white people (i.e., people of European descent) living in the United States, regardless of class, gender, religion, culture or sexuality.” …

According to the program’s materials, the goal of the residence life education program is for students in the university’s residence halls to achieve certain “competencies” that the university has decreed its students must develop in order to achieve the overall educational goal of “citizenship.” These competencies include: “Students will recognize that systemic oppression exists in our society,” “Students will recognize the benefits of dismantling systems of oppression,” and “Students will be able to utilize their knowledge of sustainability to change their daily habits and consumer mentality.”

At various points in the program, students are also pressured or even required to take actions that outwardly indicate their agreement with the university’s ideology, regardless of their personal beliefs. Such actions include displaying specific door decorations, committing to reduce their ecological footprint by at least 20%, taking action by advocating for an “oppressed” social group, and taking action by advocating for a “sustainable world.”

In the Office of Residence Life’s internal materials, these programs are described using the harrowing language of ideological reeducation.

Office of Residence Life — Report 1 On Strategic Change:

In the most turgid of bureaucratese (page 9), the Assistant Director for Residential Education is tasked to “design… engage in action… interpret,” yada yada, and so on “competencies,” i.e. student (re-education/indoctrination subject) program goals.

1. Understand how your social identities affect how you view others.

    a. Each student will understand their social identities which are salient in
    their day-to-day life.
    b. Each student will be able to express an understanding of how their social
    identities influence their views of others.

2. Understand how differences in equity impact our society.

    a. Each student will learn about the forms of oppression that are linked with
    social identity groups.
    b. Each student will recognize that systemic oppression exists in our society
    c. Each student will recognize the benefits of dismantling systems of
    oppression

3. Understand your congruence with citizenship values:

    a. -Human suffering matters.

This program surely produces plenty of human suffering.


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