Diversity certificates turn Steel City profs into softies

Faculty and staff at the University of Pittsburgh have the opportunity to gain a certificate for studying microaggressions, privilege, and other social justice topics.

The Pitt College Republicans suggested that the school adopt a similar approach to equality when it comes to political beliefs.

Employees at the University of Pittsburgh are encouraged to become certified in “diversity and inclusion” via a university-sponsored program that aims to leave professors and staff with an “increased awareness” of the necessity of programs addressing concepts like “microaggressions,” “privilege,” and “inclusive spaces.”

The university’s human resources office offers a “Diversity and Inclusion Certificate Program,” which it says will give participants an “increased awareness of the importance of diversity and inclusion to an environment of academic and workplace success.”

In order to earn the certificate, university employees must complete a total of six workshops.  In addition to two required sessions on sexual misconduct and “fostering a diverse and inclusive environment,” participants can choose from a number elective options including “Gender Theory, Gender Diversity, and Trans-Inclusive Spaces,” “Microaggression: Recognizing and Challenging a Subtle Form of Bias,” “Identity, Power, and Privilege,” and “Workplace Bullying: Understanding a Barrier to Equal Opportunity.”

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University of Pittsburgh employees who elect to attend the “Identity, Power, and Privilege,” workshop enter a “safe space” in which they can discuss “social identities” and “dominance and oppression in society.” Those who choose to attend the session on microaggressions are provided with “strategies” meant to help them address “subtle messages” that have the potential to “create a feeling of marginalization among community members.”

During the required session on diverse and inclusive environments, all participating faculty and staff will go beyond typical conversations about creating a diverse workforce, focusing on “how we make those whom we work with feel both valued and included.”

The Pitt College Republicans told Campus Reform that this program “is only one thing in the long list of partisan activities the university has undertaken.”

“We hope that going forward the university becomes a more equitable place for all beliefs,” the group added.

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Campus Reform reached out to the University of Pittsburgh for comment, but did not receive a response in time for press.

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