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The Great College Un-Wokening

Posted on Friday, March 17, 2023
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by Andrew Abbott
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6 Comments

AMAC Exclusive – By Andrew Abbott

The viral video making the rounds on social media this week showing a federal judge being shouted down by unruly students at Stanford Law School (with an assist from Tirien Steinbach, the school’s Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) serves as another potent reminder of the hold that militant leftism has on the American university system. But even at Stanford, there are some subtle indications that the woke left’s grip on academia may be beginning to slip.

In February, a group of Stanford professors formally petitioned administrators to stop using a secret and controversial diversity, equity, and inclusion program that permitted students to report on one another. Known as the “Protected Identity Harm” system, the program encouraged students to anonymously report one another for “exhibiting discrimination or bias” – a model that many have likened to Communist Cuba’s authoritarian CDR system which incentivizes neighbors to report one another to the government for “anti-revolutionary” activities or statements.

In January, a student was reported via the Stanford system for reading Mein Kampf as part of an assignment. A majority of the faculty only learned of the system’s existence after the case became public. Though the student ultimately was not disciplined for reading the book, the incident “stunned” faculty members who are now demanding that the reporting system be dismantled.

100 miles to the south, California State University Monterey Bay is facing a similar controversy. Students at the university are pushing to end a program that encourages students to report teachers causing “race-related stress” by not calling on minority students enough during class.

In a recent Fox News interview, one of the students said of the policy, “It just really makes me feel dehumanized when people can be able to tell on their professor for ‘racism’…That takes away the credibility for when things like that may really be happening.” Despite student protests, the initiative is still in place.

Yet it’s not only students and professors now opposing “woke” mandates. At the University of North Carolina, the Board of Governors recently voted to ban “DEI statements” from hiring and tenure decisions.

In May 2021, the school first implemented the diversity, equity, and inclusion requirements. The measure made it mandatory for every application seeking “appointment, promotion, and/or tenure” to submit a statement declaring how they advanced DEI principles in their past work and how they would apply them to the new position.

The measure drew particularly intense scrutiny when it was implemented at UNC’s medical school; after all, no one wants a doctor who was accepted to medical school on the basis of their commitment to DEI principles rather than academic merit.

Some Republican elected officials have also taken action to rid state-funded universities of woke dogma. In Florida, Governor Ron DeSantis has called for the elimination of all DEI programs at state institutions and has banned the use of public funding for DEI initiatives or the teaching of Critical Race Theory. A bill currently pending in the state legislature for which DeSantis has expressed support would eliminate all majors and minors in topics like CRT, gender studies, and intersectionality.

While liberal apologists insist that DEI programs and courses of study in far-left ideologies like CRT are necessary to ensure the experiences of minority students are “validated,” the reality is that they are often little more than ideological purity tests to silence conservatives.

In 2016, for instance, Dominique Blair, a black freshman attending a California college, was called a “race traitor” for starting a conservative club on campus. “I spent three hours being berated and taunted,” she said following her experience. “I was called a ‘race traitor,’ ‘Uncle Tom’ and ‘coconut’ by black students.” Many other conservative students of all backgrounds have faced similar abuse.

Colleges may also be beginning to distance themselves from woke programming as a matter of self-preservation. Since before the pandemic, college enrollment has been on the decline. Overall enrollment at American universities is down by 1.23 million undergraduates compared to fall 2019.

At the same time, other academic institutions that openly reject wokeism are experiencing a surge in interest. Hillsdale College, famous for its traditional and rigorous curriculum, has seen a 53% increase in applications.

Conservative and independent thought leaders also launched the University of Austin in 2021, a new university consciously opposed to the culture of censorship that exists on most college campuses. The school is currently undergoing accreditation review from the Texas state government and the U.S. Department of Education.

While academia is still undoubtedly dominated by far-left liberals, more developments like these have provided fresh hope for conservatives that a university system which values viewpoint diversity and upholds core American values like free speech and open debate may not yet be out of reach.

Andrew Abbott is the pen name of a writer and public affairs consultant with over a decade of experience in DC at the intersection of politics and culture. 

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Stephen Russell
Stephen Russell
1 year ago

Force colleges to use endowment funds,.
Less donors fund college
Then close colleges IE Most Leftist.
Nationwide

edward
edward
1 year ago

“I was called a ‘race traitor,’ ‘Uncle Tom’ and ‘coconut’ by black students.”
Which sounds like BIGOTRY on the part of those black students yet I haven’t seen anything about this racial injustice towards a black person on any MSM(pravda) networks.

anna hubert
anna hubert
1 year ago

Those who have no argument will shout As long as no one stand up and tells them to shut up they will continue If only the brain worked as well as the mouth

Nancy Hildebrandt
Nancy Hildebrandt
1 year ago

I’m curious to know if the wokeism and huge expenditure on DEI and other administrative bureaucracy at colleges has led to a decrease in alumni support. Declining attendance PLUS fewer donations would be a real 1-2 knockout punch.

David Millikan
David Millikan
1 year ago

Excellent article.
These WOKE Losers at Stanford are the future of lawyers?
Then as the old saying goes…’Kill All The Lawyers for they are the Real Criminals.’
Stanford and the rest of the so-called elite universities should change their names to Communist China universities since they take money from them and STEAL OUR MONEY by teaching our kids Communism and to Hate America
burying them in DEBT at the same time.
WOKE = LOSER.

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