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Higher Education Watch
How Campuses Encourage Racial Balkanization

American colleges and universities are gearing up for the 2016-2017 academic year, which means the American public can start to expect a steady stream of political lunacy from overzealous 19 year-olds and the diversity bureaucrats who manage them. The latest example, from Concordia University, presents an interesting twist on the standard campus identity politics outrage. Inside Higher Education reports:

Concordia University St. Paul has for years had an orientation meeting for minority students. But this year, one of those students shared part of the invitation letter online — and said it was offensive to require minority students to attend a special program. She has since said she’s looking to enroll elsewhere.

Concordia denies that it has a requirement for minority students only. But the letter — a portion of which has been widely shared on Facebook — says in bold capital letters: “All new students of color are expected to attend this meeting.” […]

“Clearly our excitement to ensure that our students realized the importance of this meeting may have been interpreted as required or mandatory instead of warm and welcoming,” [Cheryl Chatman, executive vice president and dean of diversity affairs] wrote.

Normally, “deans of diversity affairs” are not in the position of fending off accusations of racial insensitivity. It’s their job to make sure that trigger warnings and speech codes expunge every last drop of bigotry from campus life. But Concordia’s mandatory minority orientation session struck many students as discriminatory in and of itself. And understandably so.

As the article notes, Concordia has hosted a similar minority orientation session every year. The practice is widespread throughout the American higher education, and it is representative of the way that academic-left ideology believes in fighting bias: Through ethnic studies programs, racially exclusive housing, and safe spaces—that is, cordoning women and minority students off from the sea of bigotry that allegedly surrounds them.

We’ve previously highlighted the evidence that this approach is woefully ineffective. Social science research suggests that self-segregation efforts often exaggerate racial tensions. Instead of creating a sense of solidarity and common identity among students, campus bureaucracies often encourage division and mistrust.

Concordia’s diversity bureaucracy is convinced that the outrage at the racially segregated orientation event is a misunderstanding, because the aim is merely to welcome minority students and make them feel at home. How could anyone possibly object to that? Well, this seems like an instance where a 2007 quote from Chief Justice John Roberts seems particularly apt: “The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.”

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  • seattleoutcast

    I accidentally read “deans of diversity affairs” as “deans of offensivity affairs.”

  • Boritz

    The way to rule on a piece of legislation is to rule on the piece of legislation.

    • Johnathan Swift Jr.

      Well, the way to look at it is to look at the Constitution itself and the supporting documentation, to throw away the encrustations, for the United States does not have common law, one precedence piled upon another, but a written Constitution. If we followed the model the left likes, the “living Constitution,” we would still be working under Plessy v Ferguson.

  • Andrew Allison

    It’s tribalism, not balkanization, and if you want to see where it leads, look to the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa.

    • Fat_Man

      Back in the 90s it was the Balkans.

    • Johnathan Swift Jr.

      It’a a useful phrase. The Balkans were notoriously fractious and prone to violent upheavals based on grievances and prejudices. The left wants to pit everyone against everyone else, so whether we describe it as tribalism or Balkanization, it amounts to the same thing, the creation of bloodshed and chaos, which will naturally lead to their new utopia. You know, like Venezuela.

      • Andrew Allison

        That’s going on in the US today is the creation of tribes, which is a precursor to balkanization.

  • f1b0nacc1

    Of course this does open up lots more jobs in the diversity industry….
    Perhaps that was the point all along…

    • Johnathan Swift Jr.

      That is a byproduct of the dissension and division and discord they want to sew, the violence and counter-violence they desire. Their models are there for all to see, The Terror of 1793, Bloody Sunday in 1905, which lead to the Russian Revolution. The goal of each march is to provoke the police, hopefully into bloodshed, which will be met with bloodshed from the mob, then a crack-down, then a revolt. This is progress to them.

  • catorenasci

    The quote from Chief Obama Lackey Roberts predates his apotheosis into the Liberal Pantheon….

  • FriendlyGoat

    ““All new students of color are expected to attend this meeting.” […]
    This is why so many companies, organizations and hierarchies hire professional communications people to edit everything going out.
    This was a less-than-engineered sentence. Words always matter. It’s no fun to have simple things backfire. I mean, we are being led to believe here that the controversy is not over the content of the past “orientations”, but rather the tone of the “invitation” to the present one.

  • Wild Bill Kinda

    I was required to attend a diversity meeting when I attended college 20 some years ago. I blew it off, didn’t go, and they never said anything.

  • Michael Meyers

    WRONG….Concordia College’s separate and “mandatory” orientation for “minority” students is not an example of “self-segregation” at all. When a college, through its policies, funding and officials, compels or purports to compel–and, yes, even when they strongly encourage–“minority” students (students of color) to attend “special” and separate orientations for “them”, the college is actually funding, staffing, and directing racial separatism, not merely condoning “self-segregation” of minority students. This separatism is the college’s fault, caused by their stereotyping of minority students, and officials treating the minority students differently from their peers on the flimsy basis of skin color. Through group-think and racial prejudices, college officials facilitate and arrange (in housing, orientaions, “cultural” spaces and ancillary services “for minority students” and the like–all, by the way, provided and funded in the guise of “diversity affairs”, ,and by means of creating “safe spaces” for students of color on campus–these colleges practice racial separatism and facilitate minority isolation, and thus also encourage and enforce peer group pressure associated with racial identity and racialist thinking. We exposed in a 2002 study how collegs and universities nationwide enforced and facilitarted and funded–and, yes, staffed, and made possible, separate programs and services “for” minority students. That’s called paternalism–a fashionable but disreputable manifestation of racism–premised on skin color differences. We are this very summer updating our 2002 Report, “The Stigma of Inclusion: Racial: Paternalism and Separatism in Higher Education” ( It’s no surprise, but still stunning, that colleges and universities are today pushing racial identity and separatism rather than encouraging friendships and housing and support services across the skin color divide.
    The fault is on the college officials and trustees who not only allow differential treatment of their students based on skin color alone but who simultaneously fund and staff programs that stigmatize, separate and stereotype minority students as all sharing the “same culture” and as all lokking alike, and all in need of “special supports”. Minority students at such colleges and on such campuses are still treated as “those people.”
    Michael Meyers, President, New York Civil Rights Coalition.

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