‘There is a culture of fear and silence’: Leftist professor rethinks DEI bureaucracy

On April 17, Professor Cheryl Thompson of Toronto Metropolitan University wrote an article published in the Toronto Star titled 'Why Equity, Diversity and Inclusion offices are failing us.'

'[E]very complaint is treated as a potential threat to the institution’s reputation and as a result, faculty suffer collateral damage in this process,' wrote Thompson.

On April 17, Professor Cheryl Thompson of Toronto Metropolitan University wrote an article published in the Toronto Star titled “Why Equity, Diversity and Inclusion offices are failing us.” 

Dr. Thompson, who is also a public speaker, author, and researcher, recently published a book titled “Uncle: Race, Nostalgia, and the Politics of Loyalty,” and is currently working on another about the history of blackface as performance and anti-Black racism. 

She opened her piece on DEI practices by explaining her current area of study and how this strengthens her expertise on the subject.

“This work requires me to travel through history to a time when Black people were not seen as human and we had few rights. Because I do this work, I have a deep understanding of the development of human rights procedures and [DEI offices],” her article reads. 

Professor Thompson went on to explain the detrimental impact of DEI practices at large and her perspective on the systemic issues with DEI itself. 

[RELATED: PROF. GIORDANO: Why I am speaking out against DEISJ requirements]

“[DEI] offices are taking the joy out of education because they resist collaborative, restorative approaches to conflict and instead cling to approaches that are too bureaucratic, dehumanizing, and almost solely focused on the document trail,” Thompson argued.

She continued,“There is little room, in the current system, for decision-making at the point of intake. Instead, every complaint is treated as a potential threat to the institution’s reputation and as a result, faculty suffer collateral damage in this process.”

Previous stories reported on by Campus Reform illustrate the rise in distrust of the DEI regime across the nation. Professor Thompson’s article also confirms a trend covered by Campus Reform Higher Education Fellow Nicholas Giordano on the downfall of large-scale DEI practices.

“Some on the left have begun to realize that the movement toward Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Social Justice, has gone too far when it comes to college campuses. Over the last several weeks, we have witnessed a number of colleges drop DEISJ statement requirements from student applications and the faculty hiring process. DEI litmus tests are toxic and open schools up to enormous liability,” Giordano told Campus Reform.

He also noted that a number of schools have reaffirmed commitments to free speech and thought as a “rebuke of DEISJ principles that seek to control thought and silence speech.”

Thompson’s critique of the system also confirms a trend that Campus Reform Student Reporter William Biagini has followed: how DEI offices are ultimately failing students across the nation in their inability to equip students for the real world. 

According to a report included in one of Biagini’s analyses, 72% of young adults who have university degrees say that college did not fully prepare them to start a career, and he attributes this to universities’ significant emphasis in DEI education rather than career readiness.

[RELATED: ANALYSIS: DEI leaves students unequipped for workforce, companies step   in]

Not only does Professor Thompson believe the DEI systems and practices to be ineffective, but she believes they are cultivating a culture of “fear” and “silence.” 

She observed in closing, “[G]ood people are leaving universities … No one wins with this approach. It ultimately feeds into the hands of racists, homophobic and transphobic hate, and in the long run, is harming our institutions.”

Campus Reform contacted all relevant parties listed for comment and will update this article accordingly. 

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