Friday, November 09, 2007

A University's Secret Curriculum

A friend emailed me this link that shocked my libertarian leaning conscience, where we find that my alma mater, and former employer, had been trying to “educate” students through the University’s Residence Life Staff. Since the current president of the University made a statement declaring that the program would be shutdown, I believe it safe to assume that the program was in effect to some degree.

Now, what do we mean by, “Educate?” Essentially, Residence Life staff members, and most likely Resident Assistants – which is the position I held, and furthest down on the totem poll – were given a curriculum base for their
residents. That’s right, while they are students at the University and already take classes all day, now the RAs had to administer new curriculum for the residents to learn.

curriculum was based on the following (further explains and opinion can be found here):

  • A re-education of students on various social issues.
  • A mandatory participation basis. (While I would not see that expulsion from dorms as a possibility for a resident not attending, the RAs were in a sense being forced to make residents by means of performance reviews and such. Although, new testimonials are heading more towards the threatening possibility.)
  • Essentially, the outcome would lead to a view of society that sees whites as privileged, and all minorities (based on race, sexual orientation, or gender identification) as marginalized.
  • By changing the student’s paradigm, the University’s goal would be students who were more egalitarian.
  • Also, those goals included having students who would end up making pledges for whatever causes the complex in which they lived set out.

If you are not sure where to begin with what is wrong in the program, don’t worry because I am not sure where to begin either. To put it differently, the University of Delaware essentially played the old, “My house, my rules,” card. There are a few things wrong with that, firstly which is that the University is not the parent of any of these students, and most of the students are over 18.

Why would a university hide its own curriculum? Even in some of the supporting documents, this is described as a curriculum. So, why is it coming out of Residence Life? You would think that being that there are so many other students in the University, maybe there could be some sort of requirement for a class on the brief sociological history of the U.S. and the world, which could cover topics ranging from sexuality to socio-economic, and racial concerns. Of course with that, the problem would be that the classes were mandatory. We have to remember that people are paying for this. As well, with that said, they are
not paying for re-education on social issues from the University’s Residence Life apparatus.

Even then the point of this curriculum was not for education sake, but for making students conform to a paradigm that was already set by the University’s Residence Life arm.

Another problem with the curriculum is that Residence Life decided what the answers to the problems were, and based the education around that. Normally, especially in a higher education background, when ideological problems are given, it is up to the individual to make up their own mind on what they think is right or wrong, and what they want to do about it.

At the core of this, and apparently at the cause of, is the topic of personal liberty. It is a right of every citizen in our nation to espouse whatever stupid, false, and distasteful sentiment they wish. Forcing the students to go through a re-education is the sort of Orwellian doomsday that we all think laughable, but was apparently under way.

Such a program may as well be the affirmation of theocracy and in this case, a secular theocracy. The lack of individual liberty with regards to people’s opinions (however misinformed) is the antithesis of a liberal democracy. At least Jerry Falwell’s college is honest about the misinformation it portrays. And by the way, I still resent the fact that he chose the name, Liberty University.

This is probably the most secretive, and yet seemingly unsubtle form of manufacturing consent I have ever seen. In my experience, college students for the most part live and operate in a bubble that envies President Bush’s. Again, why was this made curriculum? Why was this kept secret in the sense that it was unannounced to residents for what it really was? Why was there such a strong effort to mandate that residents participate? This is at best, disturbing, and at its worst the plot of some sort of
Bond villain.

And while I write this article, something of actual substance, that could of deserved the support of such an “open-minded” Residence Life Staff at the University of Delaware, actually hit the floor in the House a few nights ago, and passed. Up until the bill was passed, homosexuals were not protected from discrimination in the workplace while other minorities were. Please
listen to someone who really cares about the topic, as opposed to having someone “re-educate” you.

(If you click on the link and follow towards Barney Frank’s speech, take note that he is trying to expose a tactic that the Republicans were using. At the time, Republicans were trying to tie in marriage issues into the bill - whereas the bill was really about work discrimination - in an effort so that bill would not be passed.)
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