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Campus free speech dies in DEI

By M.D. Kittle

MADISON —The University of Oregon is taking the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s hardline approach to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

The Big O mandates current and prospective faculty to submit statements discussing their contributions to DEI to be eligible for hiring, promotion and tenure, according to the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE).

“These policies — including the guidelines and rubrics used to evaluate the DEI statements — require faculty to affirm UO’s views on DEI and to promote these views in their respective classrooms, research initiatives, and service activities, to avoid being disadvantaged in hiring or evaluation,” Fire notes in a statement.

The nonprofit organization, whose mission is to defend and sustain the individual rights of all Americans to free speech and free thought, last week wrote to University of Oregon officials warning the requirements threaten academic freedom. Such mandates interfere “with faculty members’ scholarly autonomy and {compel] them to endorse views they may not actually hold, in violation of the First Amendment and UO’s own policies.”

The University of Oregon’s stringent woke policy is akin to the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s requirement that graduate students take a UW Health Services’ online prevention education course called “Graduate and Professional Students Preventing and Responding to Sexual and Relationship Violence.”

As Empower Wisconsin reported last year, Students who failed to take the course were barred from further enrollment.

“If you don’t complete this required program by September 24, 2021 an enrollment hold will be placed on your student account and you will not be able to register for Spring 2022 courses,” a letter sent to grad students stated.

The course takes approximately 90-120 minutes to complete, and all “incoming students” in the grad and professional degree programs are “expected to complete this course.” By complete it means all participants must record the “correct” answers before they are allowed to move on.

While the theme ostensibly involves ensuring safety on campus, the modules are filled with the kind of controversial race- and gender-centric radical indoctrination that is raising concerns on college campuses and in public school classrooms across the country.

The “Knowledge Check” quiz, which mandates a 100 percent score, asks students questions like:

Which of the following are examples of oppression?  (Select all that apply)

— Racism

— Ableism

— Colonialism

— Sexism

Students are expected to define “institutional power, privilege, oppression, intersectionality, and micro aggressions” and to “Understand how marginalized folks are disproportionately impacted by violence.”

The program is filled with the kind of nonsense peddled by the racist “antiracist” and critical race theory crowd, that the United States of America was and remains a land of oppression and racism led by white supremacists who draw power from their “privilege.”

“Institutional oppression, then, is the social prejudices (racism, heterosexism, colonialism, etc.) that operates within institutions to justify, normalize, and support further harming and marginalizing oppressed people and elevating the status and power of dominant groups that already hold privilege,” a section of the course states.

One module is titled Critical Race Theory and Critical Race Feminism.

Last year, FIRE ranked UW-Madison 104th out of 159 universities and colleges nationwide in a review of free speech on campus. University of Oregon ranked 59th. Milwaukee’s Marquette University ranked near the bottom at 153rd.

Wisconsin’s flagship public university received a 58.56 score out of a 100. Here are some highlights from FIRE’s review of UW-Madison:

  • 28% of students say it is never acceptable to shoutdown a speaker on campus.
  • 76% of students say it is never acceptable to use violent protest to stop a speech on campus.
  • 69% of students think it is likely that the administration will defend the speaker’s rights in a free speech controversy.
  • Students are most uncomfortable publicly disagreeing with a professor about a controversial topic.
  • Racial inequality is the topic most frequently identified by students as difficult to have an open and honest conversation about on campus.

“Whenever people discuss gender you can’t say anything that is even slightly critical of the current intersectional leftist narrative even if you are largely supportive of queer identity,” a UW-Madison student said in FIRE’s 2021 survey. “This happens quite frequently. I’m usually with a group of friends mostly with queer identities and I just feel like I’m not allowed to have an actual discussion.”

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