Scholar says this UMich course is 'straightforward political indoctrination'
- A course at the University of Michigan called "Social Justice, Identity, Diversity, and Community" is one option for fulfilling a required seminar series.
- Peter Wood, president of the National Association of Scholars, called the course "straightforward political indoctrination."
A course at the University of Michigan, called "Social Justice, Identity, Diversity and Community," seeks to “examine the possibilities for building community across race, gender, class, sexual orientation, and religion as students explore their own racial and other social group identities.”
The course itself is not required but is one of the options in the required seminar series, according to Assistant Vice President for Public Affairs Rick Fitzgerald. When contacted by Campus Reform regarding what prompted the course, Fitzgerald said that one of the principles of the course, as seen in the description, is “how do we have constructive conversations and dialogue about our different perspectives, beliefs, experiences and backgrounds?"
The description also states a number of questions that the course will address, including “how do we develop the practice of civic engagement along with the skills of boundary-crossing to build vibrant communities and a strong democracy in our schools, neighborhoods, cities, and governments?” and “to what extent do the American ideals and its democratic principles continue to provide a bond for our society in the face of growing social divisions and inequalities?”
“Students from diverse backgrounds are encouraged to enroll in this seminar, bringing personal experience and perspective to enrich the discussion of theoretical readings,” the course description reads.
The University of Michigan College Republicans and College Democrats did not respond to requests for comment in time for publication.
But Peter Wood, President of the National Association of Scholars, says the course is not unique.
"Social Justice, Identity, Diversity and Community is just like hundreds of other such courses for first-year students at colleges and universities across the country. It is straightforward political indoctrination for left-wing activism," Wood told Campus Reform. "The course is intended to impress on University of Michigan students the worldview and the values of progressives and to blot out, as far as possible, the legitimacy of any alternative views."
UMich is not the first school to offer a course on inclusion and diversity. As previously reported by Campus Reform, Syracuse University offered a similar class after a video was released by a fraternity involving racist language and sex acts.
However, some students felt the course was not necessary and others believed the course lacked depth.
Further, in 2018, Tulane University mandated that all new students choose a “race and inclusion course.” As previously reported by Campus Reform, "Dear White People," "Critical Race Theory," "Introduction to Fiction: Race and Inclusion," and "Difference and Inequality" qualified for the required course.
Students didn’t react so well to that course, either. Some students told Campus Reform that they wished religion had been included in the course and that they believe there were better ways to help minorities. Others, however, said the class was a good idea because it helped promote critical thinking, open-mindedness, and could help students contribute kindness to the world.
Back to UMich, Wood said the sheer name of the class itself shows an agenda.
“All four words in the title of the course are code for a political agenda that is smuggled into the curriculum as though it were a simple civics lesson,” Wood said. “Will any of the students have the opportunity to read and consider writings by critics of the ideas of ‘social justice’ or ‘diversity?’ It is extremely unlikely.”
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @BrittanySlaugh5