When the 2007-2008 University of Delaware Residence Life indoctrination program became the subject of withering public attention before it was quickly “suspended” by its president, FIRE received dozens of emails from students and RAs about ResLife’s coercive administration of the program. I am amazed that senior administrators still seem willing to trust ResLife to administer a new indoctrination program, watered down but chock-full of a social and political “sustainability” agenda that goes far beyond UD’s environmental initiatives.
Today we publish for the first time an email from an RA who apparently feared retribution from ResLife and chose to remain anonymous. The RA warns us that “Residence Life will most likely re-name their current practices and continue to force RAs to push their agenda in the residence halls. They dedicated their department to forming the minds and opinions of students who live in the Residence Halls and will not give up on their rhetoric so easily.”
Here’s the whole email:
Subject: comments from RA at UD
Date: Thu, 1 Nov 2007 20:51:58 -0400
From: UD RA
As an RA at UD, I would like to say thank you exposing the Residence Life department and revealing the ideological re-education that they force us to deliver. President Harker called for this program to be stopped and reviewed, but please do not think this alone is “victory”. The department of Residence Life will most likely re-name their current practices and continue to force RAs to push their agenda in the residence halls. They dedicated their department to forming the minds and opinions of students who live in the Residence Halls and will not give up on their rhetoric so easily. They will challenge us, as is their way, to come up with new and innovative approaches to programming and curriculum which deliver their messages in thinly veiled form. Even though they claim to assess and collect feedback from students and staff, this information never alters their ideology or impacts their ideological agenda. Any RA who criticizes or opposes a viewpoint presented by the department is usually required to adopt their viewpoint or resign from the position because they can’t “connect” to the department’s curriculum. Please follow up with the school’s residence hall department to ensure that the methods and practices and ideological stand are truly reworked so students are given options and choices instead of answers and values.
UD RA, you nailed it.
I encourage those who applied to be RAs and hall directors next year to let us know, in your own words, what ResLife has asked of you regarding next year’s program.
I also encourage members of the Faculty Senate to read the accounts above and read last year’s curriculum— the “confrontation training,” the “delivery strategies,” the “strong male RAs” hired to break the “resistance” of males by “combat[ing] male residents’ concepts of traditional male identity,” the personal questions about students’ sexual awakening, the questionnaires about which genders, races, and ethnicities each student would date or befriend, the “treatment” metaphor for students’ incorrect values, attitudes, and beliefs, the immediate notification of the police (day or night) for “Any instance that is perceived by those involved as being … oppressive,” the activities in which students were instructed to act out the worst stereotypes they could think of—then ask themselves why they think ResLife can be trusted with anything like the current proposal.