T Nation

Indoctrination at U of DE


This isn't even professorial bias in the classroom - this is administration-mandated "re-education" - forced indoctrination sessions reminiscent of fascist dictatorships.


[i]University of Delaware Requires Students to Undergo Ideological Reeducation

October 30, 2007

FIRE Press Release
NEWARK, Del., October 30, 2007 - The University of Delaware subjects students in its residence halls to a shocking program of ideological reeducation that is referred to in the university's own materials as a "treatment" for students' incorrect attitudes and beliefs. The Orwellian program requires the approximately 7,000 students in Delaware's residence halls to adopt highly specific university-approved views on issues ranging from politics to race, sexuality, sociology, moral philosophy, and environmentalism. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) is calling for the total dismantling of the program, which is a flagrant violation of students' rights to freedom of conscience and freedom from compelled speech.

"The University of Delaware's residence life education program is a grave intrusion into students' private beliefs," FIRE President Greg Lukianoff said. "The university has decided that it is not enough to expose its students to the values it considers important; instead, it must coerce its students into accepting those values as their own. At a public university like Delaware, this is both unconscionable and unconstitutional."

The university's views are forced on students through a comprehensive manipulation of the residence hall environment, from mandatory training sessions to "sustainability" door decorations. Students living in the university's eight housing complexes are required to attend training sessions, floor meetings, and one-on-one meetings with their Resident Assistants (RAs). The RAs who facilitate these meetings have received their own intensive training ( http://www.thefire.org/index.php/article/8546.html )from the university, including a "diversity facilitation training" session at which RAs were taught, among other things ( http://www.thefire.org/index.php/article/8552.html ), that "[a] racist is one who is both privileged and socialized on the basis of race by a white supremacist (racist) system. The term applies to all white people (i.e., people of European descent) living in the United States, regardless of class, gender, religion, culture or sexuality."

The university suggests ( http://thefire.org/index.php/article/8544.html ) that at one-on-one sessions with students, RAs should ask intrusive personal questions such as "When did you discover your sexual identity?" Students who express discomfort with this type of questioning often meet with disapproval from their RAs, who write reports on these one-on-one sessions and deliver these reports to their superiors. One student identified in a write-up as an RA's "worst" one-on-one session was a young woman who stated that she was tired of having "university shoved down her throat."

According to the program's materials ( http://thefire.org/index.php/article/8543.html ), the goal of the residence life education program is for students in the university's residence halls to achieve certain "competencies" that the university has decreed its students must develop in order to achieve the overall educational goal of "citizenship." These competencies include: "Students will recognize that systemic oppression exists in our society," "Students will recognize the benefits of dismantling systems of oppression," and "Students will be able to utilize their knowledge of sustainability to change their daily habits and consumer mentality."

At various points in the program, students are also pressured or even required to take actions that outwardly indicate their agreement with the university's ideology, regardless of their personal beliefs. Such actions include displaying specific door decorations, committing to reduce their ecological footprint by at least 20%, taking action by advocating for an "oppressed" social group, and taking action by advocating for a "sustainable world."

In the Office of Residence Life's internal materials, these programs are described using the harrowing language of ideological reeducation. In documents ( http://www.thefire.org/index.php/article/8545.html ) relating to the assessment of student learning, for example, the residence hall lesson plans are referred to as "treatments."

In a letter ( http://www.thefire.org/index.php/article/8547.html )sent yesterday to University of Delaware President Patrick Harker, FIRE pointed out the stark contradiction between the residence life education program and the values of a free society. FIRE's letter to President Harker also underscored the University of Delaware's legal obligation to abide by the First Amendment. FIRE reminded Harker of the Supreme Court's decision in West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette (1943), a case decided during World War II that remains the law of the land. Justice Robert H. Jackson, writing for the Court, declared, "If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein."

"The fact that the university views its students as patients in need of treatment for some sort of moral sickness betrays a total lack of respect not only for students' basic rights, but for students themselves," Lukianoff said. "The University of Delaware has both a legal and a moral obligation to immediately dismantle this program, and FIRE will not rest until it has."

FIRE is a nonprofit educational foundation that unites civil rights and civil liberties leaders, scholars, journalists, and public intellectuals across the political and ideological spectrum on behalf of individual rights, due process rights, freedom of expression, and rights of conscience on our campuses. FIRE would like to thank the Delaware Association of Scholars (DAS) for its invaluable assistance in this case. FIRE's efforts to preserve liberty at the University of Delaware and elsewhere can be seen by visiting www.thefire.org. [/i]


According to the program's materials ( http://thefire.org/...ticle/8543.html ), the goal of the residence life education program is for students in the university's residence halls to achieve certain "competencies" that the university has decreed its students must develop in order to achieve the overall educational goal of "citizenship." These competencies include: "Students will recognize that systemic oppression exists in our society," "Students will recognize the benefits of dismantling systems of oppression," ...

That is so deeply, deeply ironic...


Damn them all. You know, it's times like these when I really wish random ass-whoopin was was legal. I'd beat them til they cried. Then I'd beat the president for allowing such a communist dictatorship to flourish on the campus. I almost wish for someone to turn that shit on me here--I'd destroy them! And then I'd destroy the administration!

It's probably the "horribleness of High T" getting to me. God, I just want to beat them like a red-headed stepchild! Doesn't anybody think about this shit anymore?

/irrational rage.

I really don't have anything to say about this. I'm not in a position to be logical about it because I'm too enraged at the moment. I will say that I'm very sick of the "nanny state" and it's pushed me a lot closer to being a partial libertarian than I ever thought possible for someone like me. I can't believe I'm even saying that. But the fact remains that the founding fathers were the smartest people around, and even they weren't smart enough to foresee the monumental idiocy that would become par for the course today. Probably because they thought the culture today inconcievable at the time.

Time to cool off...


Be afraid.Be very afraid.


And Massachusett's residences keep electing Ted Kennedy...Shit and people say the south is backwards.


The inmates are running the asylum


Since when is Delaware in Massachusetts...?


Did I just read that all white people are racist?

You know, if we would all just be hippie-liberal-socialists there wouldn't be a problem.


Ho-ly shit. I'm appalled. Seriously. I'm at a loss for words at this...shit.


Fascinating in a creepy & horrible sort of way.

I wish I knew about this particular bit wackery before. It was only a few months ago that I wrote a longish article on this very subject - it's forthcoming in a conservative review.


Some good news -- looks as if the program is suspended:



Something to ponder here: conservatives are winning the battles (or were anyway, when we had real conservatives in Congress and the White House), but liberals and even radicals are winning the war. While the GOP has built a solid political party (or had, again) and the associated noise machine, the liberals have dominated in academia, education, most popular media (i.e. Hollywood), main-line Protestant and Catholic churches, etc.

Liberalism, especially on cultural issues (abortion, gay marriage, the Sexual Revolution, multiculturalism) has all but won the war against traditional morality, because liberals, whether they realize it or not, are benefitting from the fact that culture beats politics. Always will.



The world continues its rocket sled ride to complete insanity, heads shoved firmly up backsides. Sort of reminds me of yesterdays quote: The will to be stupid is a very powerful force, but there are always alternatives.�??Lois McMaster Bujold


This has nothing to do with this story. There is a large difference between political indoctrination and social liberalism. Couldn't I just easily as say the Conservatives benefit from sticking to their traditional morality? The "traditionally moral" seem to vote more often than the other side.


Not sure I get what you're saying. My point is that many if not most of the drivers of culture are dominated by liberal orthodoxies, at the least.


I'm not sure what beowolf is saying either.

It seems to me that modern social liberalism is, in fact, inextricably wedded to political indoctrination.


More info:


[i]November 7, 2007
Brainwashing 101

Posted by John Leo

More on indoctrination at the University Of Delaware.

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) sent Patrick Harker, the president of the University, a voluminous set of papers on how their residence life program was run. "Hundreds of pages, without exception, are about how to indoctrinate students," school of education professor Jan Blits told the campus student paper, the Review. "What's surprising is how open they are about it." Blits acquired the papers from the residence life program by simply asking for them. Kathleen Kerr, the director of residential life for the university "was so proud of the program she just handed them over," he said. Blits, head of the university's chapter of the National Association of Scholars, and another professor at the school of education, Linda Gottfredson, have been cooperating with FIRE to get the story out. Gottfredson said: "Residential Life has the whole person and they try to change beliefs - the heart and soul of a person - which is exactly what totalitarian institutions do. This is a national issue and FIRE is not finished."

Kerr is currently chair of the American College Personnel Association's commission for housing and residential life. ACPA's site lists 28 residential life officers from colleges and universities across the country, including the University of Texas, Oberlin, the University of Maryland, Rutgers, Brandeis and Michigan State, though it is not clear that these institutions are engaged in any indoctrination. The national group's ethical code says that "respecting the rights of persons to hold different perspectives" is essential.

The papers laying out the residential curriculum at the University of Delaware have a number of gassy euphemisms for insisting that students accept the ideas being imposed. One is "competency attainment" - in plain English the acceptance by students of ideas they are told to accept. The same insistence is available in clear language as well, often in sentences that begin "Students will." One example: "Students will recognize that systemic oppression exists in our society."

At a meeting of the faculty senate, Blits said that programs at public universities structured to impose beliefs are illegal, "even if it were Democratic party principles or Republican party principles." According to a report in the Review, he told the senate: "Under the civil rights law of 1871, the Ku Klux Klan Act, public university officials are personally liable for punitive damages. That is very, very serious." Blits said the university is currently "the laughing stock" of the nation.

Among the questions now being debated: why did President Harker merely suspend the program for the rest of the academic year, instead of quashing it entirely? And more basically, why should dormitories have their own curriculum? Possible answer: highly ideological freshman orientation programs are now widespread and meet so little resistance, the temptation to extend the brainwashing to all four years of college may seem irresistible to eager ideologues.

The RAs are forbidden to talk to outsiders about the residential curriculum, though attacking FIRE is apparently allowed. Adam Kissel of FIRE Reported on November 3 that a parent wrote to say that her son "told me that RAs were 'mandated' to speak out against FIRE to the media. One refused and was told by residence life staff that he would lose his job and the university would not consider him a student anymore. I asked him if he (the RA) would be expelled and he said that was 100 percent correct."

The Chronicle of Higher Education blog said several RAs had been asked to speak favorably about the program to the news media. "When I declined I was taken aside and told that my future as an RA was in jeopardy as was my future as a student, " he said "I decide to stand up for myself."

In addition to its indoctrination, the residence program has its own speech code. The university's "residence life escalation procedures" divides emergencies into three levels of seriousness. The A) level, the most dire, includes life-threatening situations, sexual assault or rape, drug busts, serious injury and this: "Any instance that is perceived by those involved as being racist, sexist, anti-Semitic, homophobic or otherwise oppressive." All A) emergencies are to be reported immediately, at any hour of the night or day to the residential life professional on duty (parents are not to be notified). If the "instances" of oppressive behavior are comments or beliefs, the provision is clearly unconstitutional. But then, what goes better with an illegal indoctrination program than an equally illegal speech code?


don't confuse the issue with facts!

Seriously, I was making a more regional statement. This kind of brainwashing crap seems to come from that corner of the country vs. other places. For instance, we have friends from boston they vote democrat because thats what they always have done. They don't look at the issues, they don't care about who stands for what or even what they say. They vote democrat because they're democrats, that's what they've always done. Yes it's dumb, no I don't even go there with them. They are friends and I'd like to keep it that way.
Nevertheless, I still think that's backwards thinking.