University of Delaware Set to Restore Indoctrination Program
April 30, 2008
by Adam Kissel
With minimal announcement, minimal student input, and hardly six days available for debate, the Faculty Senate at the University of Delaware has finally posted a new Residence Life proposal—and as expected, it is all about indoctrination into a highly politicized agenda. The Faculty Senate should reject it at its May 5th meeting.
The program still tries to change students' "thoughts, values, beliefs, and actions."
It is still thoroughly about sustainability. It maintains the RA "conversations." It maintains highly politicized and highly suspect activities. It is still focused on "learning outcomes."
As we said about last year's program, this is a legal minefield. It is morally reprehensible. It still wrests away from the faculty its historic prerogative to oversee education at the University of Delaware. Its vague language merely hides its original intent—with the same programming, only in different words.
For example, on the main statement of educational goals, ResLife simply restated the words "responsibility to contribute to a sustainable society" to read "citizenship responsibilities." Everyone still knows, or should know, what ResLife means.
The faculty must reject it in order to restore the university's good name as a place open to the views of all students in Delaware and beyond—and a place free from indoctrination, coercion, and violations of freedom of conscience. Line-item amendments would not do; the extensive amendments would have to X out the main statement of education goals, all seven of the "learning outcomes," and materials and activities on almost every page. Simply calling the indoctrination "optional" does not absolve ResLife (and ultimately UD and its faculty) of responsibility for the coercive pressure on students to conform to a highly specific set of views on a wide variety of social and political issues. ResLife no longer can be trusted on such matters, and it is stunning that the faculty seems poised to trust such oppressors of students to take charge of freshmen from their first day on campus.
The timing is not really the faculty's fault, nor is it quite the fault of UD's Student Life Committee. The problem is that ResLife kept submitting essentially the same proposal time after time, and call it "rejected" or "sent back for editing" or "thrown away immediately on arrival," the Student Life Committee kept sending it back, at least three times. Finally, under time pressure, the Student Life Committee passed along a truly bad and possibly illegal educational program.
The proposal is so bad that it deserves a blog post in itself. Stay tuned.