Phi Beta Cons

The Unstoppable Mania

These two propositions seem to be true: There is never enough diversity to suit the diversity advocates and college administrators almost never deny those advocates their wishes. It’s as if colleges were under a spell cast by the diversophiles (to use Peter Wood’s term) — “Diversity is your top priority…. you will never say ‘no.’”

Today’s Pope Center Clarion Call by University of Wisconsin economics professor W. Lee Hansen certainly supports those propositions. He writes about UW’s “Inclusive Excellence” plan, which sailed through the faculty senate without any criticism and commits the university to a host of things that supposedly enhance “equity.” High-demand majors, for example, are expected to work for “representational equity” and professors are to assign grades with that same “equity” in mind.

Will these moves do anything to improve education — that is, to help individual students advance to their fullest? Hansen thinks not. The fixation on groups will do nothing for any student, no matter what group he or she is thought to represent. On the contrary, “inclusive excellence” means diverting attention away from educational excellence.

George Leef is the the director of editorial content at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.

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