Delaware News Journal Calls for Total Repudiation of University of Delaware’s Thought Reform Program
March 24, 2008
Check out the powerful editorial 'UD should outright repudiate student indoctrination efforts' in Sunday's Delaware News Journal. The News Journal's continuing attention to this issue is especially crucial because it is clear from reports that the University of Delaware's Residence Life officials do not understand that they have done anything wrong. My own experience, speaking at UD last fall, left me extremely disheartened about many students' and ResLife's understanding of the right of private conscience. We may face a serious challenge as a free society if we are raising a generation of students to believe they have the right to use official power to coerce "correct" political beliefs out their fellow citizens. Stopping the out-of-control Residence Life officials from imposing future thought-reform programs is a necessary step in fighting this trend.
The News Journal wisely points out:
Did the faculty renounce program materials such as Shakti Butler's definition of a racist as "all white people living in the United States" and her statement that "people of color cannot be racists?"
They said Ms. Butler's written materials should not have been posted on UD's Web site—probably so that parents and national commentators would not have proof of what's going on.
Did they publicly criticize the program that forced embarrassed freshmen to tell strangers when they first discovered their sexual identity?
They just said faculty should have designed the program and qualified professionals should have led the discussions...
But the faculty's weasel-worded recommendations didn't repudiate the program that ruined many students' freshman experience.
The prospects for the future of the program remain ominous. Are the faculty really thinking of just replacing RAs with more experienced indoctrinators?
As one student who was forced to participate in the program put it: "It's basically going to be the same crap, different people."
The excellent editorial concludes: "Peter Johnson, the first parent to officially object to the program, had it right when he said the university should be throwing pizza parties for freshmen instead of trying to politically educate them." We could not agree more.