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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