Ohio State health sciences program sparks controversy with mandatory 'privilege' assignments

A health science course at Ohio State University requires students to engage in assignments and discussions titled 'Unpack the Invisible Knapsack.'

A health sciences course at The Ohio State University asks students to address their “privileges” if they are white, heterosexual, or able-bodied.

The course, which has been offered since 2009, is entitled “Individual Differences in Patient/Client Populations” and is administered as a part of Ohio State’s School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, according to the Daily Mail.

Fox News reported that the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences receives funds through the University’s Affordable Learning Exchange grant, which “awards grants to instructors who want to transform their courses using open and affordable materials.”

Information about the class was obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request performed by Do No Harm, which according to its website is a coalition of “healthcare professionals, medical students, patients, and policymakers” that are dedicated to “protect[ing] healthcare from a radical, divisive, and discriminatory ideology.”

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One document reviewed by Do No Harm is entitled “Unpack the Invisible Knapsack,” and it asks students to perform a set of “activities” about their “privilege.”

This assignment includes references to a work by feminist scholar Peggy Mclntosh, including an excerpt that reads: “Whiteness protected me from many kinds of hostility, distress, and violence, which I was being subtly trained to visit, in turn, upon people of color,” according to the Washington Examiner.

Dr. Stanley Goldfarb, chairman of Do No Harm, said in an interview with Fox News that he believes the course furthers an “indoctrinating” narrative that is pervasive across American universities. 

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He stated in the interview: “The curriculum within Ohio State University’s Health Sciences Program highlights a broader trend found in many universities nationwide – the adoption of divisive and political ideologies aimed at indoctrinating students.”

Dr. Goldfarb argued that this trend is embodied by seeing group interactions “through the lens of critical race theory,” which constitutes “pure identity politics” and “can only lead to divisiveness and intergroup hostility.”