October 1, 2021

ONE MORE UNIVERSITY IN DISARRAY: In August, I posted something about the University of San Diego’s Black Lives Matter course currently being taught in the college. Here is the course description students were given:

“Heeding the call of the #BlackLivesMatter movement and global network, this course joins the nationwide effort to deconstruct anti-Blackness, dismantle white supremacy, center Black resistance and build solidarity movements that support the wellness and self-determination of Black communities. This collaborative, team-taught course will contextualize the complex histories of Black people in the US and center Black wisdom, joy and antiracist praxis. Students will be exposed to a range of interdisciplinary analyses of the movement for Black lives and engaged in critical, transformative reflection.”

As you can see, the course is not about education; it’s about “the nationwide effort to … dismantle white supremacy.” Put differently, it’s about fear mongering and indoctrination.

At the time of my August post, USD was seeking 25 faculty members to fill all the slots on the panels needed to teach the course. Given that I am the only person on the USD faculty with almost 15 years experience as a member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights as well as many years’ experience teaching and writing about civil rights, I figured that I was more than qualified to be on a panel. I applied, because it was obvious to me that the course needed a large dose of ideological diversity.

Faculty members were requested to propose a topic or two in a few sentences. Here’s one of mine: “Labor and U.S. Racial Capitalism: I would discuss Nobel prize-winning economist Gary Becker’s work on race discrimination. Becker showed that competitive markets have tended to eliminate race discrimination, while protected markets (government jobs and jobs with heavily regulated or unionized industries) have tended to foster racial preferences. The empirical evidence tends to bear him out. For example, during the Jim Crow Era, jobs with government and public utilities went disproportionately to whites. Labor unions were often openly anti-black.   Competitive industries were usually more inclined to hire African Americans.”

As the pessimists among you might have expected, they thanked me and declined. Instead, they chose 26 other faculty members.

A comparison to the Federalist Society is worth making here: The Fed Soc’s Civil Rights Practice Group (which I co-chaired for many years) knocks itself out to create panels with speakers on all sides of the issue, left, right, and center. That’s what all the Fed Soc practice groups do. Occasionally, the Fed Soc has had to cancel events because we couldn’t get speakers on the left. (They’re shy around us.) Meanwhile, actual universities have been utterly one-sided for years now. Yet weirdly, it’s the Fed Soc that keeps being accused of being an evil cabal; universities are given an irrebuttable presumption in favor of their high purpose and virtue.

Of course, the BLM course is just the tip of USD’s woke iceberg. I feel like I could spend the rest of my life reading through USD’s various “diversity, equity and inclusion” and “anti-racist” initiatives. Consider, for example, the long list of recommendations currently being made by USD’s Anti-Racist Task Force (created by the University Provost and the Faculty Senate). Among them are “Mandatory Annual Campus-Wide Anti-Racism Training” and a “Revision to USD’s Hate Crimes and Acts of Intolerance Policies,” more support for “Faculty Affinity Groups,” more admissions office staffing for recruiting Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) students, more staffing at the Black Student Resource Commons, a “Black Summer Immersion Program,” “Evaluation of Campus Artifacts” to remove those tied to the oppression of BIPOC community members, more social gatherings for BIPOC faculty, a minority hiring plan to promote BIPOC faculty hires, a BIPOC mentorship program for BIPOC faculty, “Enhanced Support of Black Graduate Students,” and “Additional Financial Aid for Black Students.” Programs like USD’s Honors Program are “encouraged to examine their recruitment strategies to dismantle existing racist or bias practices.”

They needn’t have made the recommendation to evaluate campus artifacts to remove those tied to the oppression of BIPOCs. USD has already put its statue of Saint Junipero Serra in storage for “safe keeping.”

By the way, our engineering school is “working hard to dismantle the myth of meritocracy in the United States and in the engineering discipline.” Think twice before you cross a bridge designed at USD.

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