Delaware ResLife Fighting for Every Inch: Proposal Re-re-re-revised

By May 9, 2008

Fifth time the charm? The University of Delaware Residence Life proposal has been revised yet again, but its essential elements remain the same.

The proposal still tries to change students’ “thoughts, values, beliefs, and actions.” It still is an educational program with “learning outcomes.” It maintains the RA “conversations.” It maintains highly politicized and highly suspect activities.

“Citizenship responsibilities” are still the responsibilities defined by ResLife, now in even more narrow terms of environmental sustainability. It is not enough to simply put the word “environmental” before the word “sustainability” and then trust ResLife to re-envision all of its activities through an environmental lens-or through the even narrower lens of “issues of environmental sustainability that are relevant to residence hall living.”

Changing a few words here and there cannot save the program from the indoctrination program that it has been intended to be from the start. The document is now a logical mess. The other two “circles” of sustainabilitythe social and political agendaare still there in the activities. The proposal should go back to committee and start over again.

Or consider “learning outcome” 3: “Understand their own and others’ concepts of justice.” Why, again, is this a proper learning outcome for ResLife to teach rather than the facultyare they failing to teach about justice? Is this topic going to be only about environmental sustainability now? Is “social justice” really gone from the proposal now?

Or consider the fact that the parties are still envisioned partly as guilt trips:

A welcome back party will be held in each complex for returning first-year students. At each social event, information will be posted on walls and event supplies to inform students of the economic and environmental impact of the event and items.

Oops, forgot to take out the word “economic,” right? “This fork cost 7 cents, which could have been donated to a wind farm.”

Now that the program is even more strongly hidden by doublespeak, students will have even less of an opportunity to understand what they are going to be allowed to opt out of.

The Faculty Senate again has just three days (including the weekend) to read, consider, and debate this proposal. To expect that an educational program of such magnitude should be considered within such a short time is unfair and unworthy of the University of Delaware. To revise the resolution supporting the plan by changing the words “educational plan” to “residential program”while it still is clearly an educational planis more doublespeak and another attempt to pull the wool over the faculty’s eyes. ResLife is still advertising its mission as its “educational priority,” using language almost identical to its goal statement in the oft-revised proposal.

The Faculty Senate should take the time to get it right. The students of the University of Delaware deserve no less.

Schools: University of Delaware