Thought control alive and well at University of Delaware

By November 10, 2007

Last week we learned a mandatory University of Delaware (UD) program requires all students living on campus to acknowledge that “all whites are racist.” This school of higher learning offers white students “treatment” so they can overcome “any incorrect attitudes regarding class, gender, religion, culture or sexuality” they held when they entered the school.

According to the university’s Office of Residence Life Diversity Education Training documents, UD states “A racist is one who is both privileged and socialized on the basis of race by a white supremacist (racist) system. ‘The term applies to all white people (i.e., people of European descent) living in the United States, regardless of class, gender, religion, culture or sexuality. By this definition, people of color cannot be racists, because as peoples within the U.S. system, they do not have the power to back up their prejudices, hostilities, or acts of discrimination….”

The UD documents further asserts a white person cannot be a “non-racist” because “The term was created by whites to deny responsibility for systemic racism, to maintain an aura of innocence in the face of racial oppression, and to shift the responsibility for that oppression from whites to people of color (called ‘blaming the victim’).”

The WND article goes on to say, “The school requires its approximately 7,000 residence hall students “to adopt highly specific university-approved views on issues ranging from politics to race, sexuality, sociology, moral philosophy and environmentalism.” The indoctrination program includes the order, “A researcher must document that the treatment/intervention was faithfully applied (ex: specific lesson plans were delivered to every student, etc.)” and “the school requires ‘a systemic change’ as a result of the program.”

According to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) in an October 30th article, “The University’s views are forced on students through a comprehensive manipulation of the residence hall environment, from mandatory training sessions to “sustainability” door decorations. Students living in the university’s eight housing complexes are required to attend training sessions, floor meetings, and one-on-one meetings with their Resident Assistants (RAs). The RAs who facilitate these meetings have received their own intensive training from the university… The university suggests that at one-on-one sessions with students, RAs should ask intrusive personal questions such as ‘When did you discover your sexual identity?’”

FIRE sent a letter to University of Delaware President Patrick Harker pointing out the “stark contradiction between the residence life education program and the values of a free society.” FIRE’s letter to President Harker also underscored the University of Delaware’s legal obligation to abide by the First Amendment. FIRE reminded Harker of the Supreme Court’s decision in West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette (1943), a case decided during World War II that remains the law of the land. Justice Robert H. Jackson, writing for the Court, declared, “If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein.”

FIRE further commented to Harker, citing documents from the schools’ Office of Residence Life Diversity Education Training program. “Somehow, the University of Delaware seems terrifyingly unaware that a state-sponsored institution of higher education in the United States does not have the legal right to engage in a program of systematic thought reform,” the letter from FIRE’s director of legal and public advocacy, Samantha Harris, said. “The First Amendment protects the right to freedom of conscience–the right to keep our innermost thoughts free from governmental intrusion. It also protects the right to be free from compelled speech.”

WND wrote in a subsequent article, “the university responded to WND questions about the program with an e-mail referral to a web posting, which said, ‘there is in fact a program within the residence halls that engages students in self-examination of the roles they hope to take in society.’” WND says the university posted a defense on their website, posted November 1, that said, “This effort is consistent with the mission of the university which states, ‘Our graduates should know how to reason critically and independently … communicate clearly in writing and speech, and develop into informed citizens and leaders.’”

Vice President for Student Life Michael Gilbert admitted “missteps” in the program. More crap!

On November 1 Harker, said, “I believe that recent press accounts misrepresent the purpose of the residential life program at the University of Delaware (but agreed) questions about its practices (would) be addressed…” He further stated, “It is not feasible to evaluate these issues without a full and broad-based review.” What crap!

This program is completely over the line, and unlikely to change. Despite any inconvenience and financial burden, U of D students should leave the college en masse, while their critical thinking faculties and strength of character are still intact.

“The fact that the university views its students as patients in need of treatment for some sort of moral sickness betrays a total lack of respect not only for students’ basic rights, but for students themselves,” FIRE President Greg Lukianoff said. “The University of Delaware has both a legal and a moral obligation to immediately dismantle this program, and FIRE will not rest until it has.”

In truth, racism rears its ugly head in every culture and “color” of people, and has as long as we’ve been on this earth. Programs like those at the University of Delaware only serve to further divide people into tribal-like, warring groups. Groups of people in strife rarely recognize external cause and effect, and are more compliant with “solutions” like Agenda 21—a completely structured existence where everyone will be treated with equity. At least, so goes the lie.

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Schools: University of Delaware