Clemson senators defeat 'ideological indoctrination' proposal

Almost a year after a Clemson University administrator called for mandatory diversity training for student government members, some senators are still pushing for the measure to be instituted.

In April 2017, Altheia Richardson, the director of Clemson’s Gantt Multicultural Center, proposed that student government candidates be required to pass an “intercultural competency” test before being allowed to run for or hold office.

While that proposal was sharply criticized at the time, Clemson Undergraduate Student Government (CUSG) Senators Thomas Marshall and Stephen Moore revived the concept Monday with a proposed amendment to the Senate Handbook.

[RELATED: Clemson set to roll out mandatory diversity course]

“Each senator shall be responsible for attending diversity and inclusivity training created in collaboration with organizations such as the Gantt Multicultural Center and other relevant groups, at the beginning of the Senate term,” the amendment reads.

“This training will be focused on improving communication with underrepresented groups,” the amendment proclaims, listing “veterans, individuals with physical and mental accessibilities, racial and ethnic minorities, and the LGBTQIA+ community” as examples.

Among the trainings listed are Cross-Cultural Training and “Ally Training,” an LGBT-oriented workshop that includes topics such as “Asexual Pride,” “Genderfluid Pride,” “Bear Brotherhood,” “Leather Pride,” and “Lipstick Lesbian Pride.”

[RELATED: ‘Gender Unicorn’ replaces ‘Genderbread Person’ on campuses]

As depicted in a livestream video of the proceedings, Senator Miller Hoffman asked Senators Marshall and Moore, “Would you consider making [the training] ‘highly recommended,’ instead of, like, an absolute requirement?”

“We thought about that, and that would be great to have it that way, but we’re afraid that it’s going to quickly turn into only the people that kinda already agree with uhh...” Moore opined, while Marshall interjected, “I think we kinda want to make it an educational opportunity as well.”

Ultimately, the amendment was defeated by a vote of 33 to 19, and some CUSG senators expressed their disappointment at the attempted legislative change, labelling it “ideological indoctrination.”

“This mandatory diversity and inclusivity training is clearly a poorly disguised attempt at ideological indoctrination. One can only shudder imagining the contents of such a program,” one CUSG senator told Campus Reform on condition of anonymity.

[RELATED: Clemson students given ‘heterosexual questionnaire’ in class]

This isn’t the first time Senator Marshall has aroused controversy. As reported by The Tiger Town Observer, Marshall suggested in January that it was “illegal” for senators to talk to media outlets he disliked.

“We really need to start having discussions about talking to the media as a body,” Marshall wrote in the CUSG Senate GroupMe, elaborating that he was “talking about individual senators reaching out to various media outlets illegally.”

“I think it would be beneficial to have a nice dialogue so we can know what to do in the future, to move Clemson forward, not backward,” Marshall added, to which CUSG Senate President Leland Dunwoodie responded, “Really appreciate the conversation, Steering and I are on it,” referring to one of the Senate’s committees.

[RELATED: Clemson begs profs to sign up for $27,000 diversity training]

That conversation took place several days after Campus Reform reported that student senators had been forced to sign a legally-binding nondisclosure agreement in order to participate in the impeachment trial of their vice-president, with no notice of the document until minutes before the trial began.

Notably, another bill introduced before CUSG Senate Monday addressed the nondisclosure agreement controversy with an amendment to the CUSG Constitution.

“In the event that a non-disclosure agreement or any other legally binding document is to be presented, all members must be presented the document at least forty-eight (48) hours before the start of the trial,” a portion of the amendment reads.

Campus Reform reached out to CUSG Senators Marshall and Moore regarding the diversity training amendment, but did not receive a response in time for publication.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @rMitchellGunter