University of Delaware: Students Speak Out
October 30, 2007
by Adam Kissel
When I walked in for the one-on-one, I was handed a sheet of paper and asked to fill it out. Even though I tried to explain that I didn’t feel comfortable filling out a sheet, I was told that it was mandatory. When I asked what would happen with it once it was handed in, she said it would be placed in a file and nobody would access it. I still felt slightly uncomfortable with the idea, but complied anyway. The answers on my sheet were vague, and my RA tried to force me to elaborate. Throughout the session, my answers never seemed “in depth” enough, and I was always asked to explain my responses and defend what I was thinking.
We are told to “embrace diversity.” The way this has played out on my floor is performing multiple childish activities, “teaching” us how to handle situations involving racial, sexual, socioeconomic, and cultural diversity. In each of these meetings, the underlying theme seems to be to make us feel guilty about the privileges we have, and to convince us our part in white supremacy. Most questions we are asked must be answered one hundred percent in one direction or the other; there is no room for indecision, or holding a neutral view on any issue. This adds to the feeling of guilt imposed on us. For me specifically, it seems that I’m being told it’s wrong to be a middle-class white male. The whole system being used seems to be trying to change the students into all holding the same views—the views the school, Residence Life specifically, wants us to hold. This is in no way diversity, and it is in no way right to attempt to brainwash the students.
For example, take the issue of homosexuality, and the rights that should or should not be associated with it. As a Christian, I believe that the Bible says homosexuality is wrong, and is a sin against God. As such, I cannot accept it as a legitimate lifestyle. While I accept homosexuals as people, I do not accept their choice as right, and subsequently I do not think that homosexual couples should be given marital rights. I accept that others do not hold the same views as me. But it is wrong that under the Residence Life curriculum and school mandated curriculum that I should made to feel guilty for my views. While I am open to discussion with others with differing views, it is not the school’s right to try to convince me to embrace the values that Residence Life has chosen. Essentially, if I do not change my views, I will be labeled by my RA as not embracing diversity, and not accepting of certain groups, and thus my RA will try all the harder to change me. This is not the school’s job, or right.
Honestly, we all learned about diversity in elementary and middle school. We don’t need to go over it AGAIN. If anyone came into the university being a racist, these meetings (and the one-on-ones) would definitely not change their perspective. The RA cannot change their perspective, as well. Only that person can choose whether or not to change their perspective.
I also think that the questions asked at the one-on-one were way too awkward and personal. I honestly thought that the meeting was going to be about stuff that mattered. You know, what my major was, what I was interested in, any worries and concerns about classes or my roommate, what I wanted to accomplish here, etc. Instead, I got a slew of questions that I’ve never even talked about with some of my good friends back home! That part definitely needs to be eliminated. It’s really weird, especially depending on who your RA is, to be on a friendly level with your RA when one of your first encounters with them is like that.
that she was tired of having “diversity shoved down her throat” and who responded to the question “When did you discover your sexual identity?” by stating “That is none of your damn business.” Another student identified as having an RA’s “worst” one-on-one stated that she did not understand why the university “force[s] all this diversity stuff” on its students.