Robert Discusses Virginia Tech and UD Reslife Program on Pajamas Media Blog

By April 28, 2009

In his first blog for Pajamas Media, FIRE Vice President Robert Shibley discusses our recent victory at Virginia Tech and our latest video on the now-abandoned UD Reslife program.

On Virginia Tech, Robert writes:

Unfortunately, on campuses across the country, the line between indoctrination and education is being blurred and ignored on a daily basis. Even more appallingly, students and faculty members are victims of enforced campus orthodoxy. One of the most recent examples comes from Virginia Tech, where the faculty of the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences recently voted on a proposal that would make a demonstrated commitment to "diversity" a mandatory part of tenure and promotion reviews. And Virginia Tech offered a hyper-politicized definition of diversity seemingly calculated precisely to leave those who disagree politically with the university out in the cold:

We, the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences Diversity Committee, use the term "diversity" to mean the desirability and value of many kinds of individual differences while at the same time acknowledging and respecting that socially constructed differences based on certain characteristics exist within systems of power that create and sustain inequality, hierarchy, and privilege.* The College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences is determined to eliminate these forms of inequality, hierarchy, and privilege in our programs and practices. In this sense, diversity is to be actively advanced because it fosters excellence in learning, discovery, and engagement.

* These characteristics include, but are not limited to ability, age, body size and condition, class, color, ethnicity, gender, gender expression, geographical and cultural background, health status, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, and veteran status. [Asterisk in original.]

That’s right: Virginia Tech was telling prospective tenured faculty members that if they were not sufficiently committed to eliminating "socially constructed differences" and inequalities based on characteristics including "body size," they were not wanted.

As Robert notes, while requiring professors to conform to a politicized agenda in order to be eligible for tenure is a shocking betrayal of the right to private conscience, it pales in comparison to the University of Delaware’s attempt to impose its similarly politicized agenda on an entire class of university freshmen. As Robert explains:

Shockingly, the University of Delaware chose to engage in such an effort. The resulting travesty is vividly documented in a new short film from FIRE: Think What We Think … Or Else: Thought Control on the American Campus. Under the rubric of teaching students to value "sustainability," the University of Delaware’s Office of Residence Life (not even the faculty, mind you) operated what can only be described as a thought-control program in its dormitories, complete with questions like "When did you first discover your sexuality?" and "Would you ever date a person of a different race?" (Sustainability, as you will see from the video, evidently means much more than conservation and recycling.) Students who refused to cooperate with such interrogations or who told the resident advisers conducting the interviews that it was none of their business were given poor evaluations that were duly recorded and reported to the Residence Life office. You can read more about the case, including a huge number of documents detailing the program, at FIRE’s website, including an award-winning article from the director of FIRE’s Individual Rights Defense Program, Adam Kissel.

You can read Robert’s entire blog here and check out FIRE’s latest video below. Please be sure to pass it on to others. Our YouTube channel is currently the eighth most watched non-profit channel this month and we need your help to go higher still.

Schools: University of Delaware Cases: University of Delaware: Students Required to Undergo Ideological Reeducation