Remember when colleges and universities sought to educate students?
Heather Mac Donald argues that the American university has forsaken that quaint mission and instead is "becoming an appendage of the identity bureaucracy and identity studies. "
Nowhere is this more transparently obvious than at San Diego State University, which has just hired as its new president Adela de la Torre, the quintessential diversity bureaucrat.
What made de la Torre so attractive to San Diego State? Mac Donald writes:
As vice chancellor of student affairs and campus diversity at UC Davis, de la Torre presided over a division made up of a whopping 28 departments—not academic departments, but bureaucratic and identity-based ones, such as the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual Resource Center; the Center for African Diaspora Student Success; the Center for Chicanx and Latinx Student Success; the Native American Academic Student Success Center; the Middle Eastern/South Asian Student Affairs Office; the Women’s Resources and Research Center; the Undocumented Student Center; Retention Initiatives; the Office of Educational Opportunity and Enrichment Services; and the Center for First-Generation Student Scholars.
This gallimaufry of identity-based fiefdoms illustrates the symbiosis between an artificially segmented, identity-obsessed student body and the campus bureaucracy: the more that students carve themselves into micro-groups claiming oppressed status, the more pretext there is for new cadres of administrators to shield them from oppression.
I can't help noting just a few other high points of President de la Torre's distinguished tenure at UC Davis. President de la Torre undertook an international tour aimed at reassuring families that the university was welcoming to all people (wouldn't a statement have been easier on the budget?) and investigating the racial insensitivity behind a "Cinco de Drinko" party.
Let's state the obvious. This has remarkably little to do with educating people–quite the contrary because instead of broadening people, it shrinks their frame of reference. This reflects a shift away from the original purpose of the university.