Diversity enriches our lives and helps us experience new ideas and different ways of life. It's one of the many benefits of a free, pluralistic society. Yet these days, “diversity” has become a buzzword signaling dogmatic politics, narrow viewpoints, and intolerant "toleration."
The political consequences of the “diversity” agenda have resulted in reverse discrimination based on race and gender to achieve a superficial balance based on quotas.
College Fix contributor and UCLA student Josh Hedtke reports that at his alma mater the College Faculty Senate just approved a mandate requiring “every student in the College of Letters and Sciences take a course about 'inequalities based on race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation and religion, among other factors'.” It’s a sure bet, says Hedtke, that the Undergraduate Students Association Council and then the Committee of Rules and Jurisdictions will soon follow suit.
Among the mandate’s four goals is this one, as Hedtke explains:
…the most wonderfully written goal: “To provide undergraduates with the analytical skills needed to develop critical and reflective perspectives on difference within both domestic and global spheres—including the structural processes, along with representational and embodied practices, that promote inequities and those that support fairness and inclusiveness.”…
The entire proposal reads like the Diversity Committee composition strategy consisted of grabbing a thesaurus and throwing together the coolest, trendiest, most social-justicey sounding words. The imprecision and vagueness with which the writers lay out their often astonishingly far-reaching claims and justifications is something to behold.
Trying to understand what they actually mean is like trying to read ancient Sanskrit. Nonetheless, even when the proposal is somewhat clear, the claims it makes are incredulous and the evidence it cites is either shoddy or unrelated to a course requirement.
The writers of the proposal present numerous studies claiming to show the benefits of a diversity-related course. Unfortunately, many of the studies use questionable surveys to assess subjects and the entire process of determining if these diversity courses have positive results is inherently subjective.
The most powerful indictment, however, comes from one of the diversity proposal’s drafters, Allyson Bach, the Undergraduate Students Association Academic Affairs Commissioner. As Hedtke explains:
When asked if a black student could fulfill the diversity requirement with an African studies course, or a homosexual student could meet it with a Queer studies one, she said:
“I think that question doesn’t necessarily address what the diversity requirement is trying to achieve. Diversity isn’t in boxes, you can’t just say you can take a course on a specific culture. It’s about how our cultures and our identities and our genders and our citizenship intersect into a fluid understanding of diversity. That question doesn’t really go after what the diversity requirement is about and I don’t feel comfortable answering it in that sense because that’s not the purpose of it.”
If your head hurts, too, reading that non-explanation, Hedtke explains:
Ultimately, the diversity proponents have to rely on emotion because their intellectual and moral cases for a diversity requirement are severely lacking. The proposal is so muddled and full of assertions and evidence that are not rigorous that it is impossible to take seriously.
But we have to take seriously the intentions of the diversity proponents, because there is no telling how far they will take their diversity fetish if they are allowed to proceed unabated.
He's right. Based on the data I found through the U.S. Department of Education’s Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), UCLA gets nearly $89,000 per student in core revenue as of fiscal year 2013.
Taxpayers and students shouldn’t be forced into subsidizing this nonsense. Our hard-earned money is supposed to help undergraduates earn the degrees they need to be educated, skilled, and productive citizens. Imagine if just UCLA's per-student state appropriation amount (nearly $11,000) were redirected to individual students in the form of performance grants instead of to UCLA as a lump-sum appropriation. UCLA would still get all the other government cash (much of which is earmarked for specific multi-year construction and research projects), but to attract fees- and tuition-paying students (more than $15,000 each) who also have another $11,000 in performance contact funding (that is, the money's a state grant if students complete their degree programs on time, but those funds would be converted into a loan they'd have to repay if they didn't). The onus would be on UCLA and other public universities to keep costs down, program quality high, and keep their own institutional aid flowing to students with legitimate financial need.
Perhaps then the Faculty Senate would have to spend more of their time teaching actual courses (say, American history, for example) and less time cashing in on the latest fad at students’ and taxpayers’ expense.