A familiar campus drama just played out at Colgate: a few bigoted remarks, followed by protests (good), then a cornucopia of diversity demands, including major changes to the curriculum (not so good).
The Colgate Association of Critical Collegians recently staged a sit-in on campus which drew support from professors and grew to 350 protestors by its fifth day. The proximate cause of the protest was a string of truly bigoted remarks made over social media: commenters on the anonymous Yik Yak app posted comments like “White people won life, Africa lost” and “I don’t want blacks at this school.” These statements certainly deserve condemnation. However, the demonstrators’ extensive list of demands would do far more to curb academic freedom that to eradicate prejudice.
Their list invoked the supreme value of “diversity.” They demanded revisions to the core curriculum “to bring in explicit study and understanding of systemic power dynamics and inequities; instituting “diversity training” for financial aid staff, professors, and administrators; informing job applicants that they must be familiar with conversations about “diversity, privilege, and intersectionality”; and requiring greater consideration for “diversity” in faculty and financial aid staff hiring.
Somewhat predictably, Colgate’s president and administrators caved. Changes to the core? The faculty will take it up at their next meeting. More diversity training? Done. Revising hiring procedures? Potential candidates will now be vetted for “ability to foster an inclusive workplace.”
Protests ostensibly devoted to fighting discrimination tend to degenerate into calls for greater “diversity.” Anyone familiar with the mischief that regularly occurs on college campuses knows where these demands lead: further damage to an already mediocre curriculum; “diversity training” that indoctrinates more than it educates; and ideologically-driven hiring decisions. We can expect to see the same at Colgate.