Students required to pay for own 'social justice' training

Toni Airaksinen
New York Campus Correspondent

  • Oregon State University is offering students $11.25/hour to promote “social justice” and “cultural engagement” on campus.
  • In order to qualify for the position, however, students must complete a two-credit course on "Foundations of Social Justice Leadership," costing $490 for in-state students and $1,523 for out-of-state students.
  • The Oregon State University (OSU) diversity center is hiring two college students to promote “social justice” and “cultural engagement” on campus.

    In a recent job posting, OSU highlights that the two students will fill the newly created positions of Social Change Leadership Liaisons, working up to 20 hours a week with the school’s Diversity and Cultural Engagement office (DCE).

    "[Participants] will enroll in and successfully complete the two-credit...“Foundations of Social Justice Leadership” course in Spring 2018 with a grade of C+ or higher."   

    The DCE offers numerous annual social justice programs to students, including a longstanding Examining White Identity retreat, a Womxn of Color support group, an annual Examining Masculinities conference, and many others.

    [RELATED: Students get $11/hour to ‘advance social justice and diversity’]

    The new hires will assist with the DCE’s programming, and are expected to enroll in a two-credit course on “Foundations of Social Justice Leadership” as a condition of their employment. While the course is not yet listed on the school’s course catalogue, the job posting indicates that it is “forthcoming.”

    According to the 2017-2018 OSU tuition schedule, the class would cost in-state students $490, while out-of-state students would need to pay $1,523. As the position pays $11.25 an hour, this means that in-state students would need to work 43.55 hours to pay for the required class, while out-of-state students would need to work 135.37 hours.

    [RELATED: Rutgers makes freshmen pay to learn about microaggressions]

    Successful applicants are also expected to have leadership experience, demonstrated sensitivity to various racial and ethnic groups, and the ability to articulate and share their knowledge on “issues of social justice” including “racism, sexism, cis-sexism, homophobia, classism,” and  “ablism [sic].”

    With their skills in articulating social justice issues, the Social Justice Leadership Liaisons will be tasked with facilitating “dialogue on difference, power, and identity and then co-facilitate such dialogue in ways that strengthen community and encourage deep learning.”

    UPDATE: OSU Vice President of Media Relations Steve Clark defended the course requirement in a statement to Campus Reform, saying there are multiple ways that students can avoid incurring additional tuition costs.

    "The required course qualifies for degree credit that a student can use in earning a degree from Oregon State University, in lieu of other credit hour requirements that would be required to take in their major for their degree. So for students in this degree major, so there is no additional expense," Clark explained. "As well, applicants for this position can choose to make a special request and audit and complete this course for no credit and in doing so, pay no tuition. Students in financial need attending at Oregon State, as well, have many opportunities to apply for and receive financial aid. 

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    Toni Airaksinen

    Toni Airaksinen

    New York Campus Correspondent
    Toni Airaksinen is a New York Campus Correspondent, where she reports on free speech issues and social justice research. She is a senior at Barnard College, majoring in Urban Studies and Environmental Science. She is also a columnist for PJ Media, and formerly held a post with USA TODAY College, The Columbia Spectator, and Quillette.
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