OPINION: Universities have no clue what a diverse campus truly looks like
When universities spend countless time and resources on diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives, the kind of diversity that actually matters, diversity of thought, suffers.
This is a lesson I learned the hard way, through personal experience.
When universities spend countless time and resources on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives, the kind of diversity that actually matters, diversity of thought, suffers. This is a lesson I learned the hard way, through personal experience.
DEI, when implemented correctly, does have the potential to make real change on campuses nationwide. However, universities tend to pick and choose which student characteristics matter most to the school’s public image, rather than what matters most to society: intellectual diversity.
Just last month, it was discovered that DEI propaganda has been dominating freshman orientation materials.
“Only about 30% of analyzed colleges mentioned ‘free speech’ or ‘viewpoint diversity’ in their programming. An examination of PowerPoint slides found that DEI concepts were 3.71 times more prevalent in slide material than free speech and viewpoint diversity,” Campus Reform previously reported, relaying the results of a Speech First study.
Free speech is what fuels intellectual diversity, which is currently lacking in higher education. Students are being prevented from participating in what colleges are supposed to provide: the exchange of ideas and perspectives.
The push for DEI by universities is to blame, and my university is no exception.
September 2022 marks the one year anniversary of my entire education being flipped upside down, all due to Point Park University’s (PPU) dedication to DEI.
Last year, students at my university were sent an email informing the campus community about the school’s non-discrimination policies, one of which did not sit right with me.
The policy in question mandated all students, faculty, and staff to use any individual’s preferred pronouns. A failure to do so could result in punitive action being taken.
This was clearly in conflict with the spirit of free speech universities are meant to embody, but the higher education system is unconcerned with that technicality. They only care about sparing the hurt feelings of the most fragile community: the liberal community.
After exposing the policy through the Leadership Institute’s Campus Reform, my school went viral, being mocked and ridiculed in major news outlets. I was also invited to discuss my perspective on Laura Ingraham’s primetime Fox News show.
Following my national news debut, students at my university, unsurprisingly, petitioned to ban me from campus. According to their petition, I am the “scum of the Earth” for not agreeing with the idea of infinite genders and pronouns.
I am not sure about you, but calling a fellow student “scum of the Earth” does not seem very inclusive to me. But that does not matter to my school. It doesn’t matter because intellectual diversity is excluded from my university’s dedication to DEI.
In spite of this attack on my speech and character, Point Park University has even publicly committed to being a diverse, inclusive space for students.
How am I supposed to feel included when students are openly attempting to strip my education away from me? How am I supposed to feel included when I receive threats from other members of my college community? And more importantly, how am I supposed to feel included when my university has remained silent about my concerns ever since the initial incident took place?
With all I have gone through being an outspoken conservative on campus, Point Park University has had plenty of time to further its commitment to a so-called inclusive environment.
But just this semester, PPU doubled down on the preferred pronoun policy that caused this mess in the first place by introducing the Office of Compliance & Integrity. This office is in place to further enforce the woke policies PPU was exposed of enforcing last year.
So much wasted time and resources are being exerted by my university, time and resources that could instead be utilized to establish policies and procedures that reflect higher education’s purpose of protecting free expression and intellectual diversity.
I, and so many others, did not choose to participate in the higher education system to be forced to defy my values and belief systems. I chose to participate in the higher education system to expose myself to values and belief systems that contradict my own. It may not sound like it, but there is a major difference.
To Point Park University and all others, it is time to reshape the way DEI is implemented in our education. It is time to re-prioritize which characteristics matter most in students. It is time to ensure that all groups on campus are represented and valued, not just the groups that the university deems important.
If these simple actions can be taken, quality education will be easier to access and receive.
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