Home/Rod Dreher/The Balkanization of Campus

The Balkanization of Campus

File this under “I’m Not For Trump, But I Get Why People Want Him To Throw A Brick Through The Establishment’s Window.” A reader at Emory University passes on this e-mail sent out to the academic community this week:

From: Sweeney, M. DeLa
Sent: Monday, August 29, 2016 9:34 AM
Subject: Fall 2016 Multicultural Emory (ME)

On behalf of the Office of Multicultural Programs & Services (OMPS), I wish you the very best for this fall semester and the 2016-2017 academic year. Additionally, I invite you to explore the opportunities in our Multicultural Emory (ME) portfolio that aims to acknowledge, validate, and affirm the racial identities and racialized experiences of Emory students.

ME includes four branches:
Asian, Pacific Islander, Desi Experience (APIDEX)
Building Leaders And Cultivating Knowledge (BLACK)
Multi Ethnic & Racial Group at Emory (MERGE)
Support & Opportunity for Latinxs (SOL)
Each branch includes multiple components. While some components are intended for specific demographics (e.g., women; first-year students; graduate & professional students; graduating students), every branch has a community component that is open to all Emory students: undergraduate, graduate, & professional.

APIDEX Discussion Group; Monthly, 2nd Mondays, 530-700p | Starting 12 September 2016, OMPS (DUC E207)
The BLACK Collective (presented with the Emory Black Student Union); Weekly, Tuesdays, 600-730p | Starting 6 September 2016, EBSU (DUC E206)
MERGE Discussion Group; Semimonthly, 1st & 3rd Mondays, 530-700p | Starting 19 September 2016, OMPS (DUC E207)
La Sala; Weekly, Thursdays, 530-700p | Starting 1 September 2016, Centro Latino (DUC, West Wing, 2nd Floor)

Additionally, we have a few openings on the ME Leadership Team. Each branch is supported by Managers & Coordinators. These volunteer positions are responsible for preparing and implementing the programs & events of their respective ME branches. For more information and to apply for a position, please visit http://www.emory.edu/MULTICULTURAL/me/leadership.html.

I hope you will consider connecting with some component of ME during your time at Emory. We are also very open in exploring opportunities and expanding programming to meet the needs of individuals who are interested in creating spaces for additional communities not currently available in ME. Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns ([email protected]). In OMPS, we envision an Emory where every student can proudly say, “This is ME!” Wishing you a wonderful fall semester.

Warm regards..

M. DeLa Sweeney, PhD, NCC
pronouns: they, them, their, theirs
Director, Social Justice Education
Interim Director, Multicultural Programs & Services
Center for the Advancement of Student Advocacy & Agency

Writes the reader:

I don’t know which part is worse … no, scratch that, the “preferred personal pronouns” under the name of a UNIVERSITY ADMINISTRATOR WITH THE POWER TO CENSOR ME is 100% the worst part.

But after that, I think the next-worst thing by a hair is the existence of such a ridiculous office. It’s doubly insulting since we just lost a big deal professor in the university [details redacted], and the administration is making that department fight to justify the idea of replacing him with a new hire. In fact this is the case throughout the American university system. Administrations are loath to hire faculty — you know, the people who teach students, which is ostensibly the reason why they are there — but happy to shell out for “safe spaces” and genderfluid Commissars “Directors of Social Justice Education.”

He continues:

The reason I bring all of this up is for context. I am looking to enter the academy as a professor. But they are not hiring people like me, i.e., people who exist to teach undergraduates content-knowledge about a specific field. They are, instead, hiring people like Mr. Genderfluid Them to tell me how to do my job. University administrations are suffering from a Stage IV metastasizing cancer of mid-level managers with degrees/Masters’/Ph.Ds in “Education,” who know nothing except the SJW propaganda they were fed in “Education” school (because they certainly don’t know anything about math or physics or biology or history or foreign languages or even freaking English), with the nerve to tell me how to do my job.

The reader concludes by referencing the case of a contrarian professor tossed by the College of Charleston for not going along with revised bureaucratic procedure:

Did you hear about Robert Dillon? He is, or perhaps I should say was, a Biology professor at the College of Charleston with more than 30 years of teaching and research experience. He won numerous awards, and was particularly singled out by other science educators for his staunch defense of Darwinian evolution. He is also a practicing Presbyterian … and I wonder how much this has to do with what happens next. See, a bunch of these mediocre intellects with degrees in “Education” got together and compiled the latest regional accreditation standards for universities. (The Ben Op implications here are ominous). In these latest standards, they decided that every syllabus must have a bullet point list of “Student Learning Outcomes,” because apparently if they aren’t in a bullet point list on the syllabus, the students won’t learn anything. Professor Dillon had stood up to the state Legislature when it wanted to impose Creationism in the classroom, and he stood up to these bullies as well. Except they told him he was being “insubordinate,” and after he refused to budge, they physically barred him from his classroom before TERMINATING HIS TENURE.

I just want to pause and let that sink in. An award-winning professor, with tenure and 30 years of experience, was FIRED because he wouldn’t put a meaningless shibboleth on his syllabus that didn’t actually have any ideological content in it. They got rid of him because he dared to stand up to them. Of course the lawsuit is in process, but the damage has already been done, the example has already been set.

Well. Lots for you readers to comment on here. I just want to point out some of the verbiage in M. DeLa Sweeney’s e-mail:

Additionally, I invite you to explore the opportunities in our Multicultural Emory (ME) portfolio that aims to acknowledge, validate, and affirm the racial identities and racialized experiences of Emory students.

Think about that: the university actually wants to make people more aware of their racial difference, and to “racialize” their experience. They are paying people like this man (or whatever he thinks he is) to foment Balkanization on the university campus. Of course the only Emory students who will not be allowed to have their racial identities and “racialized experiences” acknowledged, validated, and affirmed are white students.

And that’s how it should be! I don’t want my own white kids going off to college and encouraged to think of themselves as special, and especially aggrieved, because of their race. I don’t want the university to teach them to view people of other races with suspicion, and to meditate on their own racial preciousness.

Whenever I see the words “Social Justice,” especially in an academic context, I am certain that I am confronting a moralistic progressive scam designed to impugn the integrity and rights of white heterosexuals, and redistribute power to groups that have achieved hegemony within the established culture. Whose society? Whose justice?

It costs $61,000 per year to attend Emory. A former senior administrator at a different college told me not long ago that only about 30 percent of his school’s entire budget goes to academics. He wasn’t talking only professors’ salaries, but everything that could possibly be said to support teaching (e.g., cost of classroom building maintenance). Thirty percent. The rest of it goes to pay for programs and other things at the university that have nothing to do with the purpose of the university: to educate. The former administrator revealed that to me as part of a conversation about how the college bubble is bound to burst soon, because the whole thing is unsustainable.

Meanwhile, the woebegone University of Missouri, still reeling from the disastrous income losses following its capitulation last fall to political correctness, which led to a dramatic decrease in enrollments, continues to lead the way to the progressive Promised Land. From the student newspaper:

Many single-occupancy restrooms across the MU campus that were labeled as “unisex” will be re-labeled “toilet” by the time students return in August.

The change to “toilet” will only affect single-occupancy bathroom stalls. In residential halls, single-occupancy stalls with showers and sinks will be re-labeled “shower” and “toilet,” depending on the contents of the restroom.

The move follows a resolution passed by the Missouri Students Association in January.According to the resolution, the change will “make MU’s campus bathrooms more accessible to trans and gender non-conforming students.”

Sterling Waldman,  a social justice chair in the MSA Senate, engaged the support of the MSA for the re-labeling. Waldman said the word unisex excludes people who do not identify as male or female.

“Unisex is just such an uncomfortable and outdated word,” Waldman said.


It will cost an estimated $11,600 to change every relevant sign on campus and, due to budget cuts, Hurst said there is insufficient money available to support the entire project.

“Campus facilities is currently working with students from MSA to identify which bathroom signs are of the highest priority and change the signage on those bathrooms using the remaining $3,000 of the allotted MSA money,” Hurst said.

Priorities! American higher education has priorities! The tuition payment for one undergraduate at Mizzou this year is going to pay for changing signs to keep up with the most fashionable nomenclature among progressives. Think about that: not for faculty or adjunct salaries, or anything to do with educating students. It’s about changing toilet signs to please transgenders.

You’d think that the university, having seen a 25 percent decline in enrollment in the wake of last fall’s PC debacle, and a $46 million revenue loss, would have awakened to the folly of yielding to this nonsense. But no. The M. DeLa Sweeneyfication of the American university continues.

The day of reckoning cannot come quickly enough.

UPDATE: Reader Axxr:

I have a Ph.D. and worked in academics on the east coast in major private universities for a decade.

These are not bureaucrats—or at the very least, they don’t understand themselves in that way. These are true believers, overcome by an all-encompassing righteous indignation and a repressed hate and fury that will not go away without many years of therapy. And they are the strong majority on the administrative payrolls of many institutions.

They see it as a mission and as a calling to right the world (see the common term “social justice warrior”—it is quite apropos) whatever the cost.

I very much worry that we are seeing the emergence of a newspeak that will come to be taken for granted, matched as it already is with strong ideological education and a body of negative sanctions for violators that can be permanently debilitating for careers and families.

I further worry that it is not that schools like Chicago will survive while others fail, but quite the contrary—that schools like Chicago will fight the good fight but ultimately be numbered amongst the victims of this round of cultural madness, pressed out of existence and faded from memory until revived in discussions of its regrettable casualties by future historians.


about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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