Cover Story

BMOC: Big mandate on campus

College "diversity" activists grab freshmen at orientation-and won't let go until everyone holds the same view

Issue: "BMOC: Big mandate on campus," Sept. 14, 2002

JESSICA ASHOOH, 18, a freshman at Brown University in Providence, R.I., last month attended her new school's freshman orientation. But not a lot of orienting went on. Instead the program focused on becoming "part of the Brown community."

Facilitators, for example, billed one mandatory session on diversity as a meeting that would encourage freshmen "to think about how your experiences at Brown will be shaped by your membership in a pluralistic community." But what it really was, said Ms. Ashooh, was "your basic guilty-racist speech," delivered by Evelyn Hu-DeHart, director of Brown's center for race and ethnicity. "She was almost militant. At some points she was yelling at us."

Brown's orientation program is good, Ms. Ashooh said, "but they don't actually go over what you need to know, like when to buy your textbooks. They need to remember that the primary purpose of orientation is to orient people to their new surroundings. You had to ask for that kind of information."

We see you’ve been enjoying the content on our exclusive member website. Ready to get unlimited access to all of WORLD’s member content?
Get your risk-free, 30-Day FREE Trial Membership right now.
(Don’t worry. It only takes a sec—and you don’t have to give us payment information right now.)

Get your risk-free, 30-Day FREE Trial Membership right now.

Freshman orientation used to be about teaching new students how to find their classes, the cafeteria, and the campus bookstore. But today, left-liberal "diversity" trainers have found in orientation programs a ready-made crop of captive and impressionable audiences ripe for reeducation on issues of sex, race, and gender. The basic messages: People of color are victims; whites are their tormentors. Homosexuality is normal; abhorring the behavior is bigotry.

Some freshmen-orientation directors say they are only trying to prevent future student clashes over racism and "homophobia." Others say outright that such presentations are designed to shake the soil from new students' small-town roots, dismantle traditional values they might have brought from home, and-in presentations by hard-left facilitators-help white freshmen own and overcome their inborn racism. "I really want [freshmen] to understand that they are no longer at home, they're not in high school anymore, and a lot of the values and morals they may have had from those experiences may change here over the next four years," said diversity issues coordinator Marcus Newsom of Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa.

In Massachusetts last month, orientation organizers at Amherst College required freshmen to attend both a diversity presentation and something called "Where's my affinity group?", a discussion in which white students talked about race. In addition, Amherst gay and ethnic clubs screened for new students the film Blue Eyed, a taped anti-racism workshop conducted by Jane Elliot, a $6,000-a-day racial awareness trainer whose frigid style evokes cut-throat quiz show hostess Anne Robinson of The Weakest Link.

In the film Ms. Elliot divides workshop participants into "blue-eyes" (all of whom are white) and "brown-eyes" (a mixed-race group representing people of color). In the course of an afternoon, Ms. Elliot ridicules, chastises, and humiliates the blue-eyes, while she praises, coddles, and grants privileges to the brown-eyes. The aim: to "help" whites feel what it's like to be a person of color.

Alan Charles Kors, a University of Pennsylvania history professor and co-author of The Shadow University, calls orientation programs like Amherst's "Thought Reform 101." Some orientation facilitators believe the university cannot be content to educate students, but "must become a therapeutic and political agent of progressive change," Mr. Kors said. "This is a return of in loco parentis with a power unimagined in prior ages.... It is the university not simply standing in the place of parents, but in the place of private conscience, identity, and belief."

A small army of diversity "experts" stands ready to help. Blue Eyed facilitator Jane Elliot is one star in a constellation of highly paid, ultra-leftist facilitators who travel from campus to campus to proclaim diversity dogma.

Edwin J. Nichols, a Washington, D.C.-based diversity guru (who counts as clients the U.S. Department of Labor and the Environmental Protection Agency) charges schools about $5,000 plus expenses for a workshop in which he teaches students to recognize and combat "white privilege."

Hugh Vasquez of the Todos Institute in Oakland, Calif., is the brain behind Skin Deep, another racial-awareness film popular with college diversity programmers. Freshmen at Virginia's Washington and Lee University this month watched the film, in which minority workshop participants lambaste "whiteness," while white students repent of generational racism.

AT PUBLIC COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES, state money funds freshman indoctrination to school-approved race, sex, and gender slogans: "Not in Our House" goes the Arizona State University diversity motto. And diversity enforcement methods sometimes look frighteningly Orwellian. At West Chester University of Pennsylvania, a "Campus Climate Intervention Team" maintains an "Acts of Intolerance" database, "monitors" the campus for "acts of intolerance and insensitivity," and, if necessary, enforces "escalated sanctions." The school has logged only about nine harassment reports per year since 1991-five were graffiti, the others verbal or written-but that does not deter the "Intervention Team" from its military-sounding mission.


You must be a WORLD member to post comments.

    Keep Reading


    Job-seeker friendly

    Southern California churches reach the unemployed through job fairs