DePaul strategic plan emphasizes diversity, ignores free speech

DePaul University is placing a major emphasis on increasing “diversity” as part of a long-term strategic plan adopted earlier this year.

“We share a primary and enduring commitment to the education of underserved populations, including students who are first-generation, low-income, immigrants, or students of color, affording them the opportunity to make a difference in the trajectory of their lives and communities,” the introductory statement for the Plan for DePaul 2024 states.

Indeed, one of the six “strategic priorities” outlined in the plan is devoted to ways that DePaul can “ensure a welcoming, engaging, diverse, and inclusive campus environment”—an ambition that occasionally resurfaces within other categories, as well.

[RELATED: Students may need counseling after ‘required’ diversity training]

In order to create “an inclusive and engaging experience for all students,” for instance, the Plan calls for strengthening “programs that serve students of color, first-generation students, low-income students, and LGBTQIA+ students,” in addition to more generic efforts such as creating “student welcome programs,” expanding mentoring programs, and engaging students in “cocurricular activities” on Fridays.

The Plan also suggests that DePaul can create “a respectful and inclusive workplace environment” by increasing the diversity of administrators, expanding “leadership, professional development, and diversity programs for staff,” and providing “diversity training” for staff hiring managers.

Faculty members will be subjected to new or expanded “diversity training” programs, as well, particularly if they are involved in hiring or recruitment.

“Strengthen diversity training for full-time faculty search committees and develop diversity-supportive hiring processes for full-time and part-time faculty,” one bullet point states, while another calls on DePaul to “pilot a faculty recruitment and retention fund to support competitive offers that enhance a unit’s diversity.”

In addition, the university plans to “pilot a faculty recruitment and retention fund to support competitive offers that enhance a unit’s diversity” in order to ensure that “diverse” faculty members are not lured away by other schools.

[RELATED: MSU employees forced to pay for mandatory diversity workshop]

As part of the school’s efforts to “elevate academic excellence and embrace a culture of creativity and discovery,” meanwhile, the Plan calls for “integrating diverse topics” into the curriculum of each academic program.

To achieve this, administrators are directed to “implement faculty development workshops on integrating diversity into the curriculum” and “enhance the tenure and promotion standards to recognize teaching, research, and service accomplishments that promote and advance diversity and equal opportunity.”

Recent ventures already taken in order to please diverse groups on campus have included creating new centers to support black, “Latinx,” and LGBT students, as well as hiking student fees to fund a new scholarship for illegal immigrant students.

Despite receiving a “Lifetime Censorship Award” from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education’s (FIRE) for its ongoing hostility to free expression, DePaul’s new Plan fails to mention any strategies for removing barriers to free speech or alleviating the tension between free speech advocates and stringent administrators.

DePaul never responded to Campus Reform’s requests for comment.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @emfrappelatte