May 1, 2008
Delaware Association of Scholars urges rejection of UD ResLife proposal
The Delaware Association of Scholars is disappointed by the University of Delaware’s proposed Residence Life program and urges the Faculty Senate to reject it.
The proposed program is little more than a re-tread of the notorious indoctrination program suspended last fall. The differences are largely cosmetic.
The proposed program still tries to change students’ “thoughts, values, beliefs, and actions,” while focusing on “student learning outcomes.” It changes only the language.
Like the old program, the new one centers on “sustainability.” But while the old program defined the term (“the triple bottom line of having a society which is socially just, and communities which are economically and environmentally responsible”), the new program leaves the term undefined.
What Residence Life calls “transparency” is nothing more than invisibility.
A sign that the programs are much the same is that the new program, which was designed and would be implemented by the same ResLife administrators who had designed and implemented the earlier program, will have a Graduate Assistant for Diversity Initiatives, whose responsibilities include “Stereotyping, Oppression, Prejudice Reduction, Privilege, Heterosexism/ Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Awareness, Racism, Ageism, Sexism, Values Clarification, Multicultural Jeopardy, Classism”
Most serious of all, the new program, like the old one, appropriates the educational function of the faculty. Turning ResLife and its staff into a principal instrument of “the University of Delaware’s educational priorities,” the program usurps the faculty’s historic prerogative to oversee education at the University (Bylaws of the Board of Trustees of the University of Delaware, chapter 2, II). By approving the program, the faculty would be relinquishing the prerogative.
ResLife seems to have learned nothing from last fall’s debacle. Its proposed program simply hides the original program’s intent in different language. Old program, new words.
We urge the faculty to reject it.
Jan H. Blits
President, Delaware Association of Scholars 219A Willard Hall