WSU challenge underscores true meaning of diversity

November 29, 2005

A recent case involving the conservative political views of a Washington State University student has provided an opportunity for academia to revisit a meaningful definition of "diversity" in teacher education programs.

Diversity means just that — a wide-ranging approach that must embrace the entire spectrum of views and issues.

Ed Swan, a 42-year-old who wants to be a teacher, has made no bones of the fact he's a social conservative, predictably opposed to the likes of gay marriage and abortion.

The Associated Press reported that a form used by the university asks professors to evaluate whether a student exhibits an understanding of the complexities of race, power, gender, class, sexual orientation and privilege in American society. Swan failed four times and was threatened with termination from the teacher training program after teachers said they feared he could not withhold his opinions in a classroom. He was ordered to a training session with the Office of the Vice President for Equity and Diversity...

Schools: Washington State University Cases: Washington State University: Use of Dispositions Theory to Enforce Ideological Orthodoxy