It never ceases to amaze me how truly stupid and how profoundly intolerant the self-appointed brilliant and open-minded folk in our universities turn out to be:
Colleges’ sick ‘orientation’ game
By ROBERT SHIBLEY
Last Updated: 3:29 AM, August 25, 2011
Posted: 10:47 PM, August 24, 2011
Parents sending children off to college for the first time, beware: Their “freshman orientation” is all too likely to include being herded through a “tunnel of oppression” to learn about the evils of “white privilege,” being lectured about how they’re part of a “rape culture” or being forced to discuss their sexual identities with complete strangers — before they even meet their first professor.
That’s right: For all we hear about faculty ideological or political bias, campus administrators are often worse when it comes to brainwashing students.
Warner Bros.What many university administrators would like to do: The “ideal” freshman orientation might resemble this experiment from the film “Final Destination 5.”
Consider the shocking account from a student trained to be a dorm supervisor — a resident adviser, or RA — at DePauw University in Indiana. One of her first duties last fall was to lead her new students through a house decorated as a “Tunnel of Oppression,” where supposedly “realistic” demonstrations in each room taught lessons such as how religious parents hate their gay children, Muslims would find no friends on a predominantly non-Muslim campus and overweight women suffer from eating disorders.
Indeed, in her training to become an RA, “We were told that ‘human’ was not a suitable identity, but that instead we were first ‘black,’ ‘white,’ or ‘Asian’; ‘male’ or ‘female’; … ‘heterosexual’ or ‘queer.’ We were forced to act like bigots and spout off stereotypes while being told that that was what we were really thinking deep down.” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. must be spinning in his grave.
Unsurprisingly, she turned down the school’s offer to be an RA this year — she’d rather find another job.
DePauw is no rare case. At least 96 colleges across the country have run similar “tunnel of oppression” programs in the last few years.
Perhaps the most infamous re-education program was the University of Delaware’s: Every single student in the dorms endured an Orwellian “treatment” (the school’s word) program to expunge supposedly incorrect beliefs. Delaware demanded that its RAs ask intrusive questions about students’ sexual identity and write reports about their responses while lecturing students on environmentalism and telling them that “citizenship” required them to recognize that “systemic oppression exists in our society.”
The “treatment” was shut down a few years back after a faculty whistle-blower turned materials for the program over to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (where I now work), which publicized the outrage. But a series of “Residential Curriculum Institutes” started by those in charge of the Delaware program continues to this day.
And the same spirit infects much of American higher education. In New York, Hamilton College last fall ordered all first-year men to attend a “She Fears You” presentation, designed to get them to acknowledge their personal complicity (after just a month on campus!) in Hamilton’s “rape culture” and to change their “rape-supportive” beliefs and attitudes. Not coincidentally, the program’s presenter is a speaker at this year’s Residential Curriculum Institute.
Did Hamilton warn incoming female students of the campus “rape culture” before it took their tuition? I doubt it. But publicity did force administrators to make the seminar optional — just minutes before it started.
How many other schools host similar events that no one off campus ever hears about?
How to fight this indoctrination? First, warn your children or grandchildren about it — and remind them that every public college (and most private colleges) must leave students free to make up their own minds on such controversial ideas as “all white people are racists” or “all men are responsible for rape.” College is supposed to teach you how to think, not what you must think.
And, for the many students who do go through a creepy orientation program, please save any documents you’re given on the program and tell us about it at FIRE (thefire.org).
Justice Louis Brandeis famously opined that sunlight is the best disinfectant. If students go into orientation with their eyes open and a willingness to alert outsiders, we can hope to purge the infection of thought reform on America’s campuses.
Robert Shibley is senior vice president at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education..
At my son’s orientation they put on a skit about ‘tolerance’. We must be tolerant of the gay students, tolerant of the slutty girls that drink too much, tolerant of the party hounds, tolerant of the kids that don’t have a lot of money. In the skit, when the Christian kid asked his friends if anyone wanted to do Bible study with him, he was promptly lectured about how he needed to be tolerant that not everyone is a Christian. There was also another skit about sex on campus. The overall message was..have sex with whoever you want as quickly and whenever you want, just make sure you wear protection and get tested for STD’s. I wanted to yank him out of there, but 12 years of Christian education and my warning him about what college would be like in the land of liberals has prepared him.
My personal view from my own experience departs from this: young people – and this very definitely includes college-age young people – desperately want to fit in and belong. And to throw a kid into that toxic environment is tantamount to throwing a kid into a pool full of piranhas - even if you taught him or her how to swim away from the piranhas.
Some quotes I’ve accumulated:
- Richard Dawkins says, “How much do we regard children as being the property of their parents? It’s one thing to say people should be free to believe whatever they like, but should they be free to impose their beliefs on their children? Is there something to be said for society stepping in? What about bringing up children to believe in manifest falsehoods? Isn’t it always a form of child abuse to label children as possessors of beliefs that they are too young to have thought about” even as he demands the right to do just that with his atheistic evolution.
- Richard Rorty argued that secular teachers ought to “arrange things so that students who enter as bigoted, homophobic religious fundamentalists will leave college with views more like our own.” And he claimed that students are fortunate to find themselves “under the benevolent Herrshaft of people like me and to have escaped the frightening, vicious, dangerous parents.” He blatantly and arrogantly warned the parents who were literally paying to send their children to him, “we are going to go right on trying to discredit you before the eyes of your children, trying to strip your fundamentalist religious community of dignity, trying to make your views seem silly rather than discussable.”
- Steven Weinberg wrote that “Anything that we scientists can do to weaken the hold of religion should be done and may in the end be our greatest contribution to civilization”?
- Christopher Hitchens wrote that “All religions and all churches are equally demented in their belief in divine intervention, divine intercession, or even the existence of the divine in the first place”? He wrote that, “How can we ever know how many children had their psychological and physical lives irreparably maimed by the compulsory inculcation of faith? He charged that “religion has always hoped to practice upon the unformed and undefended minds of the young.”
- Richard Dawkins wrote, “The great unmentionable evil at the center of our culture is monotheism”?
- Scott Atran said, “Religious belief requires taking what is materially false to be true and what is materially true to be false” in a warped commitment to “factually impossible worlds.”
- Richard Dawkins: “It is absolutely safe to say that if you meet somebody who claims not to believe in evolution, that person is ignorant, stupid or insane (or wicked, but I’d rather not consider that).”
- Richard Lewontin says of education: “the problem is to get them to reject irrational and supernatural forces of the world, the demons that exist only in their imaginations, and to accept a social and intellectual apparatus, science, as the only begetter of truth.”
- Carolyn Porco says, “Let’s teach our children from a very young age about the story of the universe and its incredible richness and beauty. It is already so much more glorious and awesome – and even comforting – than anything offered by any scripture or God concept I know.”
- Woodrow Wilson – as president of Princeton and as an early progressive fascist – said, “Our problem is not merely to help the students to adjust themselves to world life… but to make them as unlike their fathers as we can.”
If parents rejected these schools and this system, it wouldn’t take too awfully long before universities understood that they either needed to (in Obama’s words) “fundamentally transform” or they would go the way of the Dodo bird. Unfortunately, the vast majority of moms and dads spend far more time considering what kind of new car to buy and where to buy it than they do looking into the institutions that will shape their kids’ minds.