Clemson Dean Calls For Students To Pass “Intercultural Competency” Test As A Pre-Condition for Holding School Offices

Clemson_University_Seal.svgAltheia Richardson, Clemson University’s director of the Gantt Multicultural Center has triggered a controversy with a proposal that all students should pass an “intercultural competency” test before they’re allowed to run for office or hold positions in the South Carolina college’s student government.  Clemson students are already required to  to take a social justice course following enrollment.  Richardson’s proposal has enraged some students as an ideological test for office — a position that Richardson denies.

Robinson presented her proposal  to the senate of the Clemson Undergraduate Student Government (CUSG). She told the CUSG “So when it comes to this whole idea of intercultural competence, what would it look like to have a standard for if you’re going to be elected as an officer, or hold a seat within CUSG, that you have to demonstrate that you have a certain level of intercultural competence, before you’re allowed to take that office, or that seat.”

She dismissed notions that her proposal would limit the democratic process: “Well, it could happen before the democratic election process,. If that is set by your Elections Board as a standard, then if you’re vetting the candidates who are running, then it can happen even before the democratic process takes place.”

That seems a rather curious cabining of the democratic process.  After all, you are eliminating from the ballot any students who object to the mandatory training.  We do not accept such convenient arguments in other countries which control the ballots to bar those who might present opposing views.  Iran recently did precisely that with a former President of the country.  Obviously no one is suggesting that Clemson adopting the same authoritarian controls but threshold tests (other than common limits like age)  for candidates has long been denounced as inimical to the democratic process.

The concern is heightened the erosion of free speech on campuses.  We have been discussing the rising intolerance and violence on college campuses, particularly against conservative speakers. (Here and here and here and here). Berkeley has been the focus of much concern over mob rule on our campuses as violent protesters have succeeded in silencing speakers.  Both students and some faculty have maintained the position that they have a right to silence those with whom they disagree and even student newspapers have declared opposing speech to be outside of the protections of free speech.  At another University of California campus, professors actually rallied around a professor who physically assaulted pro-life advocates and tore down their display.


Imposing threshold tests on a candidate’s completion of cultural training interjects the university (and its values) into democratic process to a degree that leaves many uneasy.  In combination with rising speech codes and regulations, such certification as a good cultural citizen leaves many uncomfortable.

What to do think?

120 thoughts on “Clemson Dean Calls For Students To Pass “Intercultural Competency” Test As A Pre-Condition for Holding School Offices”

  1. I am not sure that it can be seen as “an ideological test”. Whilst in the modern day I agree that most people (not just students) should accept the differences that other cultures bring. This test will not, by itself, stop bigotry.

    1. “Whilst in the modern day I agree that most people (not just students) should accept the differences that other cultures bring. This test will not, by itself, stop bigotry.”
      What exactly does “accept” mean? If a culture accepts female genital mutilation as peachy (as recent events show true), must the society as a whole “accept” it? How about misogyny? Or capital punishment for apostasy? Are condemnation of these well-subscribed ideas, the work of the bigot? The truth is that societies thrive when cultural values are universal not cafeteria-style, so “accepting” the unacceptable is just another mush-headed liberal dropping of standards and, as such, doomed to failure — ours.

      1. Sir, you have gone off in a completely different direction, not one I had given thought to and were not the primary thrust of the original piece. Of course each of the issues you identify are unacceptable. If a Muslim kneels to pray of course I expect bigots to see them as a terrorist, I do not.

        The original question raised here is “intercultural competency” and “the erosion of free speech”. As an atheist I renounce religious belief (for myself) yet I also recognise that others have a right to believe in whatever faith system pleases them and we should have no right to stand in the way. Of course it is relatively easy to defend belief systems in parts of the world not affected by bigotry, yet there are many nations where such rights are abridged every day. That is unacceptable. Misogyny happens in too many places, and must be opposed, but that was not the point of this article.

        1. Understood, but categorical statements are almost universally false and add little to most discussions so I was trying to flesh out exactly what you meant.

  2. This is psychological reparations for past injustices inflicted by someone who has an agenda.

  3. I think Altheia Richardson needs the cultural class as in the American culture of free and open elections. Does one really have to be that stupid/oblivious/anti-American to advance to lofty positions at Clemson?

  4. This is too close to home! I’m in So. Korea, right now, but when I return to SC next week I will definitely give them a piece of my mind. I was beginning to think this state was above this crap but now I realize my delusion. I have not particularly enjoyed living in a place where the only way you “fit in” is if you are born here, but have liked it being a Red state. Now It appears that even that is suspect.

  5. The necessary understanding of America’s cultural diversity should start in elementary school and be woven into the education process. Awareness and understanding is the future of any nation. However, creating mandatory filtering out of those that did not pay attention along the way sets a precedent and opens the door to other controls, some less beneficial to our society. Unfortunately, those that make it to positions where they represent others, but are woefully ignorant of the world around them will get through. They need to be educated from the get go and not culled at the end. Mindless, megalomaniac, opportunists will make it to positions of power. They serve a purpose, to illustrate what not to do. America seems to be early on the learning curve here but must stay on a learning curve and not jump to establishing precedents such as this, however well intentioned.

    1. Diversity leads to conflict. Every social scientist know that. Ask the Incas about their welcoming stance on the Spanish conquistadors. Oh, sorry they’re gone. America functions best as a melting pot where national attitudes are shaped regardless of ethnic and racial background not in homage to them. We’re Americans and need be nothing more.

    2. Neswflash: prior the 1990s and the rise of political correctness, school did teach that. So did Sesame Street. It wasn’t done in the hamfisted and manipulative way progressives use nowthough, no, we actually all thought of ourselves as part of the human race. If you want to blame anything for this mess you can start with the Clintons and Gores and Tipper’s PMRC, those days were the Tipping point (pun intended). The left have been cultivating this for a looooong time.

    3. When my son was in third grade, he exploded at the dinner table, because his teacher had told him that the U.S. was so much worse than Canada, in that: “all Canadian children were given a free education, but 8% of American kids are not given a free education.” I emailed the teacher, sending her the DOE link that said that, because state law requires it, the U.S. enrollment rate has been 98 to 99% over the past 35 years.” She emailed me back that she was relying on Oprah Winfrey’s statistics on website! I’m sure she just continued spouting Oprah’s drivel to every successive class. The “progressive” goal is to depress any pride these kids may have in their heritage and to supplant it with Oprah knowledge. Disgusting!

  6. This is like a poll tax. SJW are against Voter IDs but they want them to take a qualification course?

  7. Muffy called to say how excited she is to have the opportunity to share recipes, favorite tunes, and life experiences with her ethnic friends, but she is afraid someone might get into trouble for cultural appropriation.

    1. With a name like “Muffy,” she’d better be white and protestant; otherwise it’s “cultural appropriation!” Come to think of it, Native Americans shouldn’t be allowed to ride horses or shoot guns! Irish people should only be allowed to eat potatoes and the British should not be permitted to buy Indian food!

      1. OK, now I am curious. Who gets to use computers and cell phones, drive cars and eat pizza?

  8. Professor Richardson’s idea of “interculturally incompetent” voters and candidates for elected office:

    Of course, at least according to her proffered intentions, this defect can be cured by passing a test she decides.

  9. This is sad – I thought the SJW indoctrination bs was confined to the Ivy Leagues and Berzerkley.

    1. I did too. Apparently it’s everwhere, and it is becoming a legitimate problem. My wife teaches sixth graders and one of them (12years old) gave her an earful about ‘toxic masculenity’ (granted, she set him straight pretty quick) the other day. These are kids, they are confused, some people are all too eager to exploit that fact for their own ends. It can’t be allowed to continue indefinitely, we have voices and are capable of productive proactivity, too. The time is just about here to start, methinks.

      1. James…
        I’m curious…..would most/some other teachers at your wife’s school have set the kid straight?
        Or would they have encouraged/ tolerated the sixth-grader’s pop psychology?

      2. The kid probably heard about “toxic masculinity” from an older sibling attending college. I know that Gettysburg college requires all freshmen to take the course, “toxic masculinity” in their first year! I’d be ok with it if they also required them to take “toxic femininity” but that’s not going to happen.

  10. The more I think about this the angrier I get. Aren’t we Americans? Isn’t that our cutture? Isn’t American culture all about democracy and melting pot? Isn’t it about leaving old world ideas in the old world and embracing a new kind of society.? I think it was TER that opined that identity politics will be the death of this country. Of course he used more elegant phrasing but that was the gist!

  11. Well, well, well. We don’t like who gets elected soooo we set standards that are discriminatory and say that’s a good thing. We don’t like how voters vote so we set standards for voting that discriminated against voters who don’t agree with me and say it’s a good thing.

    I guess the leader of the “multi cultural” missed the class on democracy.

    1. I guess they also missed one or more Constitutional Law courses, also.

      This is nothing more than a POLL TAX (or Poll Exam/Test/Quiz/whatchamacallit).

      If Clemson gets even $1 from taxpayers, it better forget about this idea, real quick.

  12. What this all means is that White Folks are supposed to accept without question, as a matter of cultural sensitivity:

    1) That high illegitimate birth rates as a normal Negro thing, even though it wasn’t before LBJ and the Great Society started paying extra for bast*rd children;

    2) That Illegal Alien Mexicans are a great thing for America, even though cheap labor hurts broke and jobless Americans, and drives down wages across the board;

    3) That Anal Sex is just as important as the kind of sex that makes babies. Because. Orga*sms.

    4) That even though Blacks and Mexicans are just as good as everybody else, we have to give them special gifts and privileges;

    5) That White People are the worst race of people to ever live, and no other race in history of the world ever engaged in warfare, conquered other lands, or kept slaves. Heck, before the White Folks came to America, the redskins, I mean Native American Victims, didn’t even know what a tomahawk, or a bow and arrow. Nope, they just went around growing organic vegetables, and swapping Quartz Crystals among themselves, and smoking dope, and taking peyote. They were even the original Vegans, and didn’t even eat meat. They kept herds of buffaloes as pets!

    6) That White People should just STFU, pay for all the losers in society, and ignore the black crime rate, and high illegitimate birth rate, and not snicker during Black Pride Month;

    7) And finally, never ever say the “N” word, or say “illegal alien”, because that is the worst sin anybody could ever commit, if they are white. If they are black, then it’s OK.

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

    PS: I could have wrote a book, but I just got some Rockabilly Licks, and I need to practice them.

    1. Play like a girl….beat the boys. Nicely said. Bulls-eye!

      Should send you a local GRITS tee shirt…

      “Girls Raised In The South”

      Next time, don’t hold back.

    2. Careful, Squeeky! The only “community” that is expressly forbidden to “organize” is the “White” one. I don’t buy into the stupid racial politics foisted on us by history-ignorant, tribal “progressives.” But I understand your sentiment and greatly admire your courage! You go girl!

      1. Thank you Debbie, and CV!!!

        Right now, non guilt ridden Whites are like the little boy who hollered “The Emperor ain’t wearing no clothes!”

        Well, truly he ain’t, and it is sooo screamingly obvious that the powers who are invested in the Emperor have to shut down that kind of speech before it gets going. Similarly, can you imagine a bunch of lawyer types who are trained to look for alternative theories of the crime, blindly accepting that White Privilege is “guilty” for Black Poverty, while overlooking the screamingly obvious 70%+ Black Illegitimate birth rate??? That only happens because of intimidation and smearing by the Left.

        Because really, what is Minneapolis, for example??? Was it a hotbed of slavery and Jim Crow laws??? Yet there, the illegitimate black birth rate is about 82%. That sort of thing doesn’t just slide under the radar without smear tactics and intimidation. And now out and out physical violence.

        Squeeky Fromm
        Girl Reporter

  13. “proposal that all students should pass an “intercultural competency” test before they’re allowed to run for office or hold positions in the South Carolina college’s student government. ”

    So does that mean the growing ethnic majority will be required to answer questions on traditional WASP dishes and menu items, preppie styles, favorite holidays, surfer music, and how to pronounce names like Aubrey and Zoe?

  14. ”My time was my own to spend.”

    This was always my own bottom line as well. I would never survive in the system as it is run today, all the demands for investing yourself in this or that, always carefully choosing what will look good on a college admissions.

  15. Unacceptable

    This is what can happen when we allow real-world-useless academic department bureaucrats have too much sway in core interests of universities. Now, liberty is sacrificed by professors such as these who’s entire curricula and teaching centers upon confrontation and disenfranchisement of those she or he believes to be the enemy.

    The only time when authoritarian methods are swiftly addressed and denounced by these individuals is when the same tactics and methods they wield are supposedly–according to their own standards–are committed by the opposition. (which should be subdued)

    The only saving grace of this conundrum is that if a student has the presence and peace of mind to focus primarily on their studies and cast stupidities such as student government to their personal waste bin, the actions by this professor are meaningless in their lives.

    Personally, I never became involved with nor interested in student government for these same reasons: and that it was a consummate waste of my time and taking as many classes as I did. My time was my own to spend.

    But on a macro scale, the lessons learned by those lacking critical thinking skill collectively leads to such authoritarian practices in society in general by those so indoctrinated.

    1. Wait till this trickles down to the rest of the work places.
      NEWSPEAK anyone?
      I have been dreading this day for over two decades. It’s so hard to believe it’s here. 😥

      1. Exactly. We have got to bring some balance back as in schools and universities, we are literally looking at our future. I think it’s time to either crack down on schools via funding, or to stop sending our kids there altogether. This just gets worse and worse. :/

        1. Still want your children (grandchildren) to go to Clemson??? We have FIVE Clemson degrees in our immediate family. Adult children who graduated from Clemson, spend your money on giving your kids a solid foundation NOW, while they are young and dependent on/appreciative of YOUR indoctrination (based on your natural instincts of responsibility/love/protection for them) instead of obsessing about how to pay for college in ten years. Sadly now, that even includes Clemson. Grandparents, join me in praying for our adult children and young grandchildren who are in harm’s way, from every which direction. Lord, have mercy!

      1. A couple of years ago a HS out here spent at least a week apologising for serving fried chicken with traditional Southern sides. EXCEPT it also came out the menu had been suggested by their own Black Student Union. The various groups were asked to suggest special meals for a way of acknowledging whatever. It all gets so convoluted.

        So why the fuss and why apologise.

      2. Perhaps you aren’t familiar with online etiquette (and I realize any semblence of that has been blown right out the door by social media) but it is in very poor taste to post links to yourself in another’s discussion area. In the old days of modding, you would have been told by a moderator, so I guess I’m your moderator for the day.

        1. James – normally I would agree with you, however, Badger Pundit did tell us it was his/hers right up front and why he was posting it.

  16. Excellent analysis. Just wanted to give a shout-out to MITCHELL GUNTER, the Clemson senior who wrote the Campus Reform article (with the video) that broke this story (you link to a Heat Street article which in turn links to Mitchell’s piece). Here’s his original article:

    And here’s the petition Mitchell put together (flagged by Glenn Reynolds) — sign it to help put it over the top!:

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