This afternoon, the University of Delaware Faculty Senate will finally vote on this year’s educational plan in the residence halls at the university. The key change in the documents since they were last seen by the Faculty Senate in the spring is that, like last year, almost everything will explicitly be optional:
With the exception of the floor and building meetings held at opening, all activities detailed in this plan are attendance-optional. Students will not face penalties, perceived or real, for failing to engage in residential activities and programs. Staff and students will be aware that no activity in the residence halls is mandatory.
Initially, this crucial language was mistakenly left out, but it has been restored in the plan before the Faculty Senate. It is essential.
Indeed, one of the key violations of individual rights in the notorious 2007–08 educational plan was that the activities were not just creepy and coercive in themselves, but also mandatory. The University of Delaware had been proud of this "every student" model of values education in the residence halls, utilizing a "curricular approach" that was superior to the old "programming model," which was merely voluntary.
So long as students know that they can opt out, most of the problems with this program—from a rights perspective—have been solved. It is now up to the faculty to determine if they want a program with such a strongly held ideology to be the official University of Delaware statement on what students should learn in the residence halls.
Watch FIRE’s video on the University of Delaware program below.