EXCLUSIVE: Rutgers bills optional 'racial problems’ survey as 'required'

Rutgers University Graduate School of Education distributed an online survey asking students about perceived “racial problems.” The survey was listed as a requirement, but Rutgers claims the form was optional.

The “Dispositions Survey” asked graduate students from 24 education programs to complete 58 questions, 33 of which asked specific questions on racial inequality and racial privilege.

Campus Reform was made aware of the survey and its contents when a concerned student came forward. 

The survey asks students to agree or disagree with a variety of racial statements, such as, “I don’t care if people make racist statements against other racial or ethnic groups” and “English should be the only official language in the U.S.”

Students had six ways to respond to these statements, ranging from “Strongly Disagree” to “Strongly Agree.”

“White people in the U.S. are discriminated against because of the color of their skin,” another statement read, followed by, “Due to racial discrimination, programs such as affirmative action are necessary to help create equality.”

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According to Rutgers, the survey is used “to better understand our teacher education students and how they can best support the development of the preschool through 12th-grade students they will teach upon attaining their degree. The survey is not mandatory and is not used to evaluate individual students.”

While Rutgers claims the survey is not mandatory, students may not have been aware of the option as the form was listed undergraduate students’ “Summer 2018 Requirements” and a reminder was sent out to students urging them to “Please Submit Dispositions Survey ASAP.” 

When Campus Reform pressed Rutgers for clarification on how a form can be both optional and required, Neal Buccino, associate director of public and media relations told Campus Reform that “the survey is listed in Summer Requirements because students are required to look over all the information in that section, but they are not required to fill out the survey.”

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

“I enrolled in the [Graduate School of Education] so that I would get a better understanding of how to teach and to be better prepared for when I had a classroom of my own,” the graduate student in the program, who wished to remain anonymous, told Campus Reform

“This survey just struck me as something that the Graduate School of Education didn’t need to know,” the student added. “Whether I agreed with the questions asked or not, I don’t see how this helps anyone. Not only that but if I didn’t agree with what they deemed the ‘correct answer,’ I worried what would happen to me as a student enrolled in their program.”

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