‘Minding the Campus': ‘Let’s Make Sure Those RA Brains Are Properly Washed’

By June 30, 2011

Minding the Campus has excerpted a harrowing story of thought reform at DePauw University written by former resident assistant (RA) Rachel Cheeseman, who is a FIRE intern this summer. Here’s part of it:

During the week-long series of RA training events, my fellow RAs and I were lectured repeatedly about white privilege, racism, sexism, and every other "ism." My peers who questioned the information were silenced immediately or heckled for their refusal to accept the dogmatic views of our superiors. …

When my residents arrived, I was required to escort them through a mandatory interactive live performance, "Tunnel of Oppression." As we walked through the halls of the house in which the performance was held, we were taught different lessons by inference through the "realistic" demonstrations in each room, including "religious parents hate their gay children," "Muslims will find no friends on a predominantly white campus," "white people believe all black women are ‘welfare mamas,’" …

Not only did this brainwashing program go against DePauw’s own promise of freedom of conscience, it promoted an environment where there is a "right" and a "wrong" way of thinking. But more than just telling us what to think, DePauw told us what we should believe deep down. Instead of inspiring students by fostering free and open debate, DePauw was-and still is-indoctrinating its students.

Click here for Rachel’s whole story or read the excerpt at Minding the Campus.

Schools: DePauw University