More Diversity Nonsense

If you still think the diversity ideology isn’t corrupting the universities, consider these two items from Canada:
– Carleton University in Ottawa is dropping cystic fibrosis as the beneficiary of its annual fundraiser because the disease isn’t diverse enough—most of the people who suffer from it are believed to be white males.
– Queens University in Kingston, Ontario, has trained six students to listen in on conversations around campus and correct speakers who voice slurs and other opinions that women, gays and minorities might consider objectionable.
The Carleton decision came in a vote by the students’ association, with only one dissenting vote. “They’re playing politics with this,” said the dissenter, journalism student Nick Bergamini. “I think they see this, in their own twisted way, as a win for diversity. I see it as a loss for people with cystic fibrosis.”
The administration-appointed eavesdroppers at Queens are officially known as “dialogue facilitators,” though some students call them “conversation cops” or simply “the snoops.” The “facilitators” expect to be particularly active in the dining hall, where they expect plenty of conversations to facilitate. “If there’s a teachable moment, we’ll take it,” said assistant deal of student affairs Arig Gigrah, who runs the program. “A lot of community-building happens around food and dining. It’s about creating opportunities to dialogue and reflect on issues of social identity.” For instance, if a student uses the phrase “That’s so gay,” calls someone “retarded” or declines to go to a birthday party for “faith-based reasons,” the snoop-facilitator will step in and suggest the use of pro-diversity language that reflects a proper commitment to social justice. Daniel Hayward, 46, who is studying for his master’s degree at Queens, said that facilitators like himself, “are trained to interrupt behavior in a non-blameful and non-judgmental manner, so it’s not like we’re pulling someone aside and reprimanding them about their behavior.” So in that respect, the Queens program is somewhat different from the surveillance so popular in East Germany and other Communist countries. Still, before talking to friends or anyone else, Queens students should ask themselves, “Are my opinions really the ones my university wants me to have?” and “Do I have time to develop new opinions before the conversation cops arrive at my table to set me straight?”
As for Carleton, lots of other diseases could run afoul of a proper diversity test—Tay-Sachs (mostly Jews), sickle disease (mostly blacks) and, for that matter, AIDS (mostly male and gay) and breast cancer. It’s just hard to get illnesses to observe diversity standards.

John Leo

John Leo is the editor of Minding the Campus, dedicated to chronicling imbalances within higher education and restoring intellectual pluralism to our American universities. His popular column, "On Society," ran in U.S.News & World Report for 17 years.

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