D.E.I. Programs Are Getting in the Way of Liberal Education

Started by Langue_doc, July 28, 2023, 09:23:00 AM

Previous topic - Next topic

marshwiggle

Quote from: Kron3007 on July 30, 2023, 05:16:37 AMI also see a lot of restricted faculty positions (black, female, indigenous scholars) advertised across Canada right now.  Again, I have mixed feelings on these, but if I were black I don't know that I would be thrilled to be hired into one of these positions.

Or worse, if you were black and hired into a different position, i.e. not one of these, you might still have people assuming it was one of those positions. That would be really annoying.
It takes so little to be above average.

apophenia

That's certainly accurate to what I've seen among some of the highest levels of DEI "educators" who've formed an incestuous network of out-of-touch administrators with EDDs and no actual scholarly training in the social sciences beyond a mad libs-style dissertation on "Belonging and Inclusion Among Left-Handed Legacy Athletes at Kennesaw State"

Quote from: apl68 on July 29, 2023, 06:44:13 AMI honestly don't have all that much real idea of what DEI programs do in general.  I'm inclined toward visions of busybodies spouting jargon and endlessly hectoring and scolding, burdening hardworking people with trainings and such that are likely mostly a waste of time, and generally getting in the way.  In other words, classic administrative bloat trying to justify its existence.  Certainly there have been several reports here and there of DEI officers pulling some truly misguided stuff, and not just from right-wing outlets. 

But since I've been out of the academic game for so long, and have no actual experience with them, I'm trying to be fair about reserving judgement, and not judging them all by the most egregious examples that have gotten in the news.  It's hard to get much idea about them.  Everything I hear about DEI efforts is either condemnation from their detractors, or advocates asserting how essential they are and condemning the detractors.  Not much about the nuts and bolts of what they actually do.

That's certainly accurate to what I've seen among some of the highest levels of DEI "educators" who've formed an incestuous network of out-of-touch administrators with EDDs and no actual scholarly training beyond a mad libs-style dissertation on "Belonging and Inclusion Among Left-Handed Legacy Athletes in Greek Life at Kennesaw State."

On the ground, what I experienced was people working victim support hotlines for survivors of sexual assault, diversity trainings for professors who wanted to better support LGBT students in their classrooms, mentorship programs for underrepresented students who were feeling homesick and isolated in an overwhelmingly white environment, food pantries for low income students, leadership development programs for women in STEM, etc. etc. but I guess all that's less provocative than whatever dystopian office space shit people are making up in their heads. 🤷�♂️ (Granted, the admins at the top are pretty bad but the conversation here is as fact-free as Rufo's worldview seems to be, if that damning CurrentAffairs interview that Parasaurolophus posted is indicative of his competency in the field.)

apophenia

Quote from: Parasaurolophus on July 29, 2023, 07:59:12 AMI don't understand what the connection to the liberal arts (/'education') is supposed to be (not surprising, of course, since there is none).

For those interested, there's a lengthy exchange with Rufo at Current Affairs. As you can see, he's not really capable of articulating what he means. (Nor, apparently, is he willing to concede that Jefferson was racist.)

Wow, this is hilarious.

Quote from: RobinsonI really have to get to the laws on critical race theory that you have helped write. You have said that these laws essentially just prohibit making essentialist statements about people on the basis of race. They vary, obviously, from state to state. I want to give you an example of a statement, and you can tell me whether it crosses the line here. If I were to say: "Whites are not putting in enough effort to re-educate themselves out of racial ignorance. White people believe they have so little to learn. Racism is a way of life for the vast majority of white Americans. The disease of racism permeates a whole body politic." "Why does white America delude itself? And how does it rationalize the evil that it retains?" I assume that would be a pretty clear-cut violation.

Quote from: RufoI think, first and foremost, that's a false statement. I think that it is factually untrue. I think it's a kind of political agitprop statement. In my view, in K through 12 Public Schools, the curriculum and the values that they transmit should be determined by the people through their elected legislators, through their school boards, through their representatives and through the political process. And I think that we have an abiding interest in restricting false inflammatory racial essentialism and scapegoating, no matter who it's directed against. And so, as such, I think that I would say that the public is well within its right to say that whiteness is not a disease that has infected the body politic. I think that's the kind of rhetoric that should be out of the public schools.

Quote from: RobinsonWell, that was Martin Luther King, so we can agree that he shouldn't be in.

Wahoo Redux

#18
Quote from: apophenia on July 30, 2023, 04:21:25 PM
Quote from: RobinsonWell, that was Martin Luther King, so we can agree that he shouldn't be in.


That is brilliantly manipulated. 

But these are the two things I find so frustrating about my "own side," the liberals:

1) King was talking about a culture over a half-century ago with undisguised institutional and public racism.  Things are not perfect (because someone ALWAYS has to point out that there is still racism in the world today) but we are a much different culture than we were anytime before now, certainly different than MLK's time.  There is a long way to go (because someone ALWAYS feels the need to point this out) but we have come a very long way since 1967 when MLK wrote this.

2) This rhetoric, even if it was produced by the inestimable MLK, one of the most important people in the history of the world, is indeed inflammatory.  There is a certain body within my liberal side that seems to feel that any insult toward white people is deserved, even toward fellow liberals, because marginalized people have suffered for so long at the hands of our white forbearers and the minority of true racists now (because someone ALWAYS has to point out...etc.) that somebody needs to be insulted, mischaracterized, and attacked.  Hey, white people just deserve it, right?  It is "false inflammatory racial essentialism and scapegoating." 

There really is no point in throwing this at kids or the awkward allies out there.  It is simply going to make people angry and solve nothing.
Come, fill the Cup, and in the fire of Spring
Your Winter-garment of Repentance fling:
The Bird of Time has but a little way
To flutter--and the Bird is on the Wing.

Diogenes

Quote from: Parasaurolophus on July 29, 2023, 07:59:12 AMI don't understand what the connection to the liberal arts (/'education') is supposed to be (not surprising, of course, since there is none).

For those interested, there's a lengthy exchange with Rufo at Current Affairs. As you can see, he's not really capable of articulating what he means. (Nor, apparently, is he willing to concede that Jefferson was racist.)

He's real good at articulating how he intentionally used CRT as a boogeyman to rile up the Right and how he used the same tactics to create panics around gender. He straight up tells people his evil plans before he does them on Twitter, like a Millenial Bond Villain. https://www.themarysue.com/crt-critical-race-theory-panic-creator-moves-to-lgbtq-attacks/

Langue_doc

Quote from: Parasaurolophus on July 29, 2023, 07:59:12 AMI don't understand what the connection to the liberal arts (/'education') is supposed to be (not surprising, of course, since there is none).


I don't agree with most of the author's positions, but was reminded of the Hamline College controversy where the DEI interjected itself into an already volatile situation.

https://www.nytimes.com/2023/01/08/us/hamline-university-islam-prophet-muhammad.html

QuoteDr. López Prater said she was ready to move on. She had teaching jobs at other schools. But on Nov. 7, David Everett, the vice president for inclusive excellence, sent an email to all university employees, saying that certain actions taken in an online class were "undeniably inconsiderate, disrespectful and Islamophobic."


Parasaurolophus

Quote from: Langue_doc on July 31, 2023, 08:03:27 AM
Quote from: Parasaurolophus on July 29, 2023, 07:59:12 AMI don't understand what the connection to the liberal arts (/'education') is supposed to be (not surprising, of course, since there is none).


I don't agree with most of the author's positions, but was reminded of the Hamline College controversy where the DEI interjected itself into an already volatile situation.

https://www.nytimes.com/2023/01/08/us/hamline-university-islam-prophet-muhammad.html

QuoteDr. López Prater said she was ready to move on. She had teaching jobs at other schools. But on Nov. 7, David Everett, the vice president for inclusive excellence, sent an email to all university employees, saying that certain actions taken in an online class were "undeniably inconsiderate, disrespectful and Islamophobic."



Yeah, that was totally bass ackwards and wrong.

But Rufo's contention is that the "classical liberal arts/education" (I doubt he actually knows what that means, or why they're called 'liberal' in the first place!) will save American higher education. I don't see why (or how) he thinks it will do that.

I also suspect he's not going to be happy when he discovers that Plato talks rather enthusiastically about fucking teenage boys. Just a hunch, mind you.
I know it's a genus.

billtsherman

Quote from: Wahoo Redux on July 30, 2023, 08:43:37 PMThere really is no point in throwing this at kids or the awkward allies out there.  It is simply going to make people angry and solve nothing.

I can't agree with you here.  These sorts of things are exactly why teachers exist: to teach the context in which King made this - intentionally - inflammatory statement.

Wahoo Redux

Quote from: billtsherman on July 31, 2023, 11:36:50 AM
Quote from: Wahoo Redux on July 30, 2023, 08:43:37 PMThere really is no point in throwing this at kids or the awkward allies out there.  It is simply going to make people angry and solve nothing.

I can't agree with you here.  These sorts of things are exactly why teachers exist: to teach the context in which King made this - intentionally - inflammatory statement.

Okay.  That is a fair point.  How this is presented would make a huge difference in how it is perceived. 

A fair-minded, historical approach is not always how these are used, however.  The above gotcha dialogue is a perfect example. 

This practical purpose of changing people's minds and attitudes is completely lost.  We now just have enemies.  This is something that is almost always lost.
Come, fill the Cup, and in the fire of Spring
Your Winter-garment of Repentance fling:
The Bird of Time has but a little way
To flutter--and the Bird is on the Wing.

jimbogumbo

I will say once more (as in a previous thread, only with more emphasis) Christopher Rufo is a lying con man who has parlayed alleged CRT offenses into his golden ticket. PLEASE don't forget he parlayed all this into (among other endeavors) DeSantis naming him to the BoT of the New College.

apl68

I see where the New York Times did an article the other day about controversies regarding required diversity statements by faculty at universities.  It mentioned concerns that they are a kind of "forced speech," that they can be taken as an effort to enforce ideological conformity, that they can easily turn into empty virtue signaling by those who are cynically prepared to write what they know they're expected to write.  It was not an op-ed piece, simply an article mentioning the issues.


https://www.nytimes.com › ucla-dei-statement

(May not be a good link; I read this in the print edition)


I've honestly been trying to keep an open mind about DEI, since it represents efforts toward important and desirable goals.  But the concerns about requiring diversity statements from applicants and faculty members seem plausible, especially in public universities.
If in this life only we had hope of Christ, we would be the most pathetic of them all.  But now is Christ raised from the dead, the first of those who slept.  First Christ, then afterward those who belong to Christ when he comes.

ciao_yall

Quote from: apl68 on September 19, 2023, 07:39:51 AMI see where the New York Times did an article the other day about controversies regarding required diversity statements by faculty at universities.  It mentioned concerns that they are a kind of "forced speech," that they can be taken as an effort to enforce ideological conformity, that they can easily turn into empty virtue signaling by those who are cynically prepared to write what they know they're expected to write.  It was not an op-ed piece, simply an article mentioning the issues.


https://www.nytimes.com › ucla-dei-statement

(May not be a good link; I read this in the print edition)


I've honestly been trying to keep an open mind about DEI, since it represents efforts toward important and desirable goals.  But the concerns about requiring diversity statements from applicants and faculty members seem plausible, especially in public universities.

Why? It means that one is aware of different experiences and struggles, and have an open mind to working with all students from all backgrounds.

If it really breaks one's crayons to be expected to express this level of professionalism, perhaps one should not be working in higher education?


marshwiggle

Quote from: ciao_yall on September 19, 2023, 07:53:55 AM
Quote from: apl68 on September 19, 2023, 07:39:51 AMI see where the New York Times did an article the other day about controversies regarding required diversity statements by faculty at universities.  It mentioned concerns that they are a kind of "forced speech," that they can be taken as an effort to enforce ideological conformity, that they can easily turn into empty virtue signaling by those who are cynically prepared to write what they know they're expected to write.  It was not an op-ed piece, simply an article mentioning the issues.


https://www.nytimes.com › ucla-dei-statement

(May not be a good link; I read this in the print edition)


I've honestly been trying to keep an open mind about DEI, since it represents efforts toward important and desirable goals.  But the concerns about requiring diversity statements from applicants and faculty members seem plausible, especially in public universities.

Why? It means that one is aware of different experiences and struggles, and have an open mind to working with all students from all backgrounds.


If that's really all it means, then what tiny fraction of the population would disagree with it?
Especially among people who'd want to work in higher education????


QuoteIf it really breaks one's crayons to be expected to express this level of professionalism, perhaps one should not be working in higher education?

Should they have to sign on to
  • acknowledging the heliocentric nature of the solar system 
  • believing that matter is made up of atoms
as well?

If the statements really only mean what they say, it's pointless. If they don't it's dishonest.

It takes so little to be above average.

ciao_yall

#28
Quote from: marshwiggle on September 19, 2023, 08:01:17 AM
Quote from: ciao_yall on September 19, 2023, 07:53:55 AM
Quote from: apl68 on September 19, 2023, 07:39:51 AMI see where the New York Times did an article the other day about controversies regarding required diversity statements by faculty at universities.  It mentioned concerns that they are a kind of "forced speech," that they can be taken as an effort to enforce ideological conformity, that they can easily turn into empty virtue signaling by those who are cynically prepared to write what they know they're expected to write.  It was not an op-ed piece, simply an article mentioning the issues.


https://www.nytimes.com › ucla-dei-statement

(May not be a good link; I read this in the print edition)


I've honestly been trying to keep an open mind about DEI, since it represents efforts toward important and desirable goals.  But the concerns about requiring diversity statements from applicants and faculty members seem plausible, especially in public universities.

Why? It means that one is aware of different experiences and struggles, and have an open mind to working with all students from all backgrounds.


If that's really all it means, then what tiny fraction of the population would disagree with it?
Especially among people who'd want to work in higher education????


QuoteIf it really breaks one's crayons to be expected to express this level of professionalism, perhaps one should not be working in higher education?

Should they have to sign on to
  • acknowledging the heliocentric nature of the solar system 
  • believing that matter is made up of atoms
as well?

If the statements really only mean what they say, it's pointless. If they don't it's dishonest.



Well, would you hire a professor whose cover letter insisted they were a flat-earther and that the world was made of blood, yellow bile, black bile, and phlegm?

marshwiggle

Quote from: ciao_yall on September 19, 2023, 08:22:23 AM
Quote from: marshwiggle on September 19, 2023, 08:01:17 AM
Quote from: ciao_yall on September 19, 2023, 07:53:55 AM
Quote from: apl68 on September 19, 2023, 07:39:51 AMI see where the New York Times did an article the other day about controversies regarding required diversity statements by faculty at universities.  It mentioned concerns that they are a kind of "forced speech," that they can be taken as an effort to enforce ideological conformity, that they can easily turn into empty virtue signaling by those who are cynically prepared to write what they know they're expected to write.  It was not an op-ed piece, simply an article mentioning the issues.


https://www.nytimes.com › ucla-dei-statement

(May not be a good link; I read this in the print edition)


I've honestly been trying to keep an open mind about DEI, since it represents efforts toward important and desirable goals.  But the concerns about requiring diversity statements from applicants and faculty members seem plausible, especially in public universities.

Why? It means that one is aware of different experiences and struggles, and have an open mind to working with all students from all backgrounds.


If that's really all it means, then what tiny fraction of the population would disagree with it?
Especially among people who'd want to work in higher education????


QuoteIf it really breaks one's crayons to be expected to express this level of professionalism, perhaps one should not be working in higher education?

Should they have to sign on to
  • acknowledging the heliocentric nature of the solar system 
  • believing that matter is made up of atoms
as well?

If the statements really only mean what they say, it's pointless. If they don't it's dishonest.



Well, would you hire a professor whose cover letter insisted they were a flat-earther and that the word was made of  blood, yellow bile, black bile, and phlegm?

If their cover letter volunteered that, then it would indicate that they had very strong fringe beliefs. How long should the checklist be of fringe beliefs that people have to disagree with? That's the problem with these DEI statements; every normal person agrees with them. People shouldn't have to agree to "water is wet" in order to be hired. It's a hole with no bottom.
It takes so little to be above average.