Saturday, August 30, 2008

Here we go again...

Last year, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education was notified that there was a little problem in the University of Delaware's residence halls. Actually, the problem wasn't so little:
The University of Delaware subjects students in its residence halls to a shocking program of ideological reeducation that is referred to in the university’s own materials as a “treatment” for students’ incorrect attitudes and beliefs. The Orwellian program requires the approximately 7,000 students in Delaware’s residence halls to adopt highly specific university-approved views on issues ranging from politics to race, sexuality, sociology, moral philosophy, and environmentalism.

The actual program involved one on one interviews between each student living in the residence halls and one of the Resident Directors (RDs), who asked students intrusive questions about their sexuality, religious beliefs, and political beliefs.

Of course, the FIRE sued. And won. It didn't take long between the time that the FIRE shone a spotlight on the abuses of students' individual freedoms and the time that the university dumped the reeducation program.

Unfortunately, the University of Delaware is up to its same old tricks: they're bringing back the same program, relabeled as sensitivity training, and promised greater oversight of the RDs that carry out the program. However, the new supervisor isn't scheduled to arrive until it's kind of too late for the poor freshmen: "FIRE has learned from two independent sources that the new overseer, Dawn Thompson, will not be joining UD until early November. "

That means new freshman will, once again, be facing questions and pressure to change their beliefs that abuse their freedom to think and believe as they please. They're facing the same program run by the same people
...who pressed students (1) to reveal the origins of their sexual awakenings in private one-on-one sessions with resident assistants (RAs); (2) thought it was right to ask students to ask students, in surveys, whether they were willing to be close friends with or date people of various races, genders, sexual orientations, and ethnicities; (3) thought it was necessary for "strong male RAs" to break the "resistance" of males with "traditional" views; (4) called their re-education battery a "treatment" for students' allegedly incorrect thoughts, values, attitudes, and beliefs; (5) thought it was valuable to coerce students to reveal their political beliefs and then shame students with the "incorrect" views in front of their peers; (6) thought it was good practice to encourage RAs to record the names and room numbers of students with whom they had the "best" and "worst" one-on-one sessions; (7) thought they should coerce students to act out the worst possible stereotypes they could think of in a bizarre attempt to force students to show their own alleged bigotry; (8) pressed to make students aware the program was mandatory, while claiming to their superiors it was not; and (9) repeatedly rebuffed all serious concerns brought to their attention—from parents, students, faculty, and others—about their "curriculum."

The poor kids. I hope at least some of them are stubborn enough to hold on to their beliefs. I also hope that the FIRE's spotlight on this program, once again, will be enough to shut it down permanently.

I won't hold my breath, though.


  1. Holly -- are you aware of this happening on other campuses? If so which ones? Just curious as my older son just started college and I want to give him a heads up. If something like this were to happen we are going straight to the board of directors.

    Thanks --

  2. Check the FIRE. They are the campus watchdogs. I don't think the country would have much of an idea about what's going on on campuses without their spotlights.