Colleges now teaching social justice to high-schoolers

  • At least three universities will offer social-justice themed summer programs for high-school students discussing topics such as Black Lives Matter and "Gayborhoods."
  • Some of the programs, such as one at the University of Pennsylvania, will cost more than $7,000 to attend.

Colleges across the country are playing host to month-long summer programs that aim to teach high-school students the merits of social justice.

The month-long Social Justice Intensive summer program at Sarah Lawrence College is one such program, vowing to teach high-schoolers “theoretical, historical, and present day perspectives on issues such as class, gender, sexuality, and race.”

High-schoolers will be taught how to "dismantle...larger systems of oppression."   

[RELATED: Social justice hot topic for summer reading assignments]

While students can’t earn college credit from these classes, they will still be taught by Sarah Lawrence Professors, who will offer courses such as “Intersectional Social Justice” and “Finding Our Voices: From Activists to Allies” at a cost of $6,580.

“Intersectional Social Justice,” taught by Professor Rachel Simon, will serve as a primer on intersectionality, arguing that the theory describes how “oppressive institutions” (such as rape culture and classism) are “interconnected” and thus “cannot be examined separately from one another.”

According to a course description, Simon will discuss issues such as  Black Lives Matter, Feminist Activism, and what is apparently known as the “Theater of the Oppressed” in order to teach students ways to “dismantle” those “larger systems of oppression.”

[RELATED: Profs to spend summer in ‘inclusive learning’ workshops]

Sarah Lawrence will offer participants another course called “From Activists to Allies,” taught by Professor Olivia Worden, who plans to coach high-schoolers on how to improve their “understandings of  privilege, marginalization, equality, and justice” and “create their own social justice platforms via social media campaigns or blogs.”

Meanwhile, the University of Pennsylvania’s Social Justice Research Academy promises to teach students about the “struggles to overcome inequality and injustice” during a month-long program this July.

While the syllabus for this year’s programming hasn’t been made available, last year’s program syllabus shows that high-schoolers in attendance participated in lectures on “Gayborhoods,” police brutality, and Black Lives Matter, while taking field trips to places like The Mother Bethel A.M.E. Church, all at a cost of $7,899.

While Wesleyan University doesn’t offer a full program in social justice for high-schoolers, it does offer students the chance to earn a “Social Justice Leadership Certificate” if they successfully complete a summer Residential Program.

[RELATED: Prof organizing BLM ‘Youth Activism Camp]

“Acclaimed for its proactive stance on issues of justice, diversity, and social progress, Wesleyan is an ideal place for students with interests in these areas to receive firsthand leadership training,” a description for the Social Justice Leadership Certificate explains.

The fee for the certificate is folded into the cost of the summer residential fee, which is listed at $3,125, but students who just wish to earn the certificate only have to pay $150.

Campus Reform reached out to all three institutions for comment, but did not receive any responses in time for publication.

Follow the author of this article: @Toni_Airaksinen



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Toni Airaksinen
Toni Airaksinen | Columnist at PJ Media

Toni Airaksinen is Columnist at PJ Media and a Consultant at Youth Radio. She was previously a New Jersey Campus Correspondent, reporting on liberal bias and abuse for Campus Reform with a focus on Title IX, the OCR, and the First Amendment. During college, she also was a columnist for Quillette and The Columbia Spectator. Her exclusives have been featured on FOX News and The Drudge Report. She graduated from Barnard College in 2018.

20 Articles by Toni Airaksinen