University of Delaware and Sustainability in ‘The Wall Street Journal’

May 23, 2008

An article in The Wall Street Journal today by Naomi Schaefer Riley discusses the faddish popularity of ‘sustainability’ initiatives on college campuses, paying particular attention to the University of Delaware, where indoctrinating students about the "triple bottom line" of sustainability—which the university then defined as "the simultaneous pursuit of economic prosperity, environmental quality, and social equity"—was a key element of its disgraced ResLife education program.

As the article notes, and as we have discussed extensively here on the Torch, on Monday Delaware’s Board of Trustees approved a new version of the ResLife education program in which almost all activities are putatively optional and in which sustainability is featured only in terms of environmentalism.

But as the article points out, ResLife director Kathleen Kerr—who still has her job at the university (as do all of the other administrators responsible for the old program)—takes a very different, broader, and more ideologically charged view of sustainability:

Kathleen Kerr, the head of residence life at the University of Delaware, told a gathering of college administrators last fall that the idea that "sustainability is mostly about the environment" is a "myth." In fact, she and a colleague offered a PowerPoint presentation listing other items that administrators might consider in this category. They included "Fair Trade," "Gender Equity," "Affirmative Action," "Multicultural Competence," "Worker’s Rights" and "Domestic Partnerships."

Only time will tell if the changes to the ResLife program run deep or if administrators are hoping to placate critics with outward changes while continuing to push their agenda on students. The latter strategy will inevitably fail, because FIRE will be right here, watching closely and with partners all over campus, to make certain that not one more student suffers the indignities of last year’s ResLife program.