Marquette students required to attend ‘social justice’ workshops

“Many professors” at Marquette University require their students to complete “reflection sessions” on race and privilege, strictly monitoring their attendance and participation.

An online schedule and overview of the sessions asserts that “many professors have made attendance mandatory for their classes,” even noting that “attendance will be taken at each reflection session in order to inform professors of [their] participation.”

Students who try to leave early, though, or sneak in late “for any reason” will receive an incomplete for the mandatory workshop, with the tentative schedule explaining that any student who arrives “more than 15 minutes late or leave[s] more than 15 minutes early” will be penalized.

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Among the sessions students can be required to sit through is one called Building an Anti-Racist Society, which will ask students to “discuss and give examples of how the pervasive nature of white privilege and white supremacy affect [them], [their] service learning experience, and society as a whole.”

That particular session, the website cautions, “is geared toward students who have a strong foundational knowledge about racism, white supremacy, [and] white privilege,” and will explore those concepts in detail, with a special focus on “allyship and advocacy.”

Another session—titled Individual Choice or Systemic, Historical Denial?—builds from the premise that “systems of oppression remain a pervasive force in America and the world,” and will direct participants to contemplate the “root causes of various social justice issues” and how how they affect people on a daily basis.

“You will have an opportunity to learn how these root causes not only affect you but the people you work with on a daily basis,” the description continues. “Explore how being knowledgeable about the root cause of social justice can impact your way of thinking and the relationships you build during your service learning experience.”

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Marquette is also offering a session that will take a “closer look” at “ableism,” which the website defines as “a set of practices and beliefs that assign inferior value (worth) to people who have developmental, emotional, physical, or psychiatric disabilities,” and which manifests itself in society by treating “non-disabled individuals as the standard of ‘normal living.’”

Participants in the ableism workshop “will discuss and examine how ableism is perpetuated on a daily basis in society,” as well as “examine ways they develop relationships and work with non-abled bodied people” in order to identify ways they can “promote a more inclusive environment” in their own daily lives.

The Reflection Sessions are overseen by Marquette’s Service Learning Program, which provides “a type of experiential learning that engages students in service within the community as an integrated aspect of a course,” with a particular focus on meeting “identified community needs” and enabling students to “reflect upon and address local and national social problems.”

On average, Marquette claims that the Service Learning Program assigns between 1,200 and 1,300 students from 55-65 different courses to work with 100-125 “community agencies” each semester.

Thus far, the program’s website notes that at least 36 professors plan to “[integrate] service learning in their courses for the Spring 2017 semester.”

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @AGockowski