Read it and weep for America.
The reprogramming sessions had the trappings of cultism. After an investigation showed that males demonstrated “a higher degree of resistance to educational efforts,” one dorm chose to hire “strong male RAs.” Each such RA “combats male residents’ concepts of traditional male identity” in order to “ensure the delivery of the curriculum at the same level as in the female floors.” Mandatory group sessions singled out and shamed non-minority students because of their “privilege” in American society. Staff members kept individual files on students and their beliefs—which were to be archived after graduation. RAs were trained in the zero-tolerance policy against anything “oppressive”—an untoward word would trigger immediate notification of the campus police. RAs were required to report their “best” and “worst” one-on-one sessions to their superiors, including students’ names and room numbers. Posters and door decorations provided the ResLife messages everywhere; one could not escape them. One administrator of the program, Sendy Guerrier, wrote that students “should be confronted with this information at every turn.” Students with “traditional” beliefs had to become “allies” and “change agents” by their senior year.
All of this, according to the university’s own materials, was part of a new educational model that had won awards from the American College Personnel Association’s Commission for Social Justice Educators. The University of Delaware was proud of this “every student” model of values education in the residence halls, which had been implemented in 2004. This “curricular approach,” the university sang, was superior to the old “programming model,” which was merely voluntary and only focused on outmoded activities like study breaks. Finally, Residence Life officials could be teachers of a mandatory program, just like the faculty, and they could reach students where it really mattered—where they lived. The program was a comprehensive manipulation of the living environment to inculcate, unrelentingly, the ideological messages insisted upon by the ResLife staff. It was an extreme example of what Alan Charles Kors and Harvey Silverglate had predicted ten years ago in The Shadow University: a large apparatus of Residence Life officials usurping the educational prerogatives of the faculty in order to advance a deeply repressive agenda.
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