Student Groups Demand UChicago Change Curriculum, Housing, and Departments Along Racial Lines

university of chicagoI previously praised the position of my alma mater, The University of Chicago, in refusing to limit free speech with the creation of safe spaces and speech codes. Indeed, the courageous position of UChicago stood in sharp contrast to the troubling position of my other alma mater, Northwestern University (which has only grown more hostile to both free speech and academic freedom).  Now the university faces another test of academic principles after a coalition of student groups called “UChicago United” has given the Administration of list of 50 demands. Most troubling are demands that seek decisions impacting the academic integrity of the curriculum and school as a whole.

The group demands the creation of a “Race and Ethnic Studies Department,” a “Black Studies Academic Department,” an “African Studies Department,” a “Caribbean Studies Department,” an “Asian American Studies Program,” a “Center for African and Caribbean Studies” and a “Latinx Affairs Office.”  UChicago is commonly credited with the establishment of the “common core” approach to education and its reliance on classic works.  It has avoided the creation of race-based departments or programs as opposed to traditional academic division (within which faculty are free to focus on different racial or gender or cultural elements of their subject matters).

I have long been an advocate of the traditional division of academic departments.  A faculty senate can certainly debate the merits of abandoning this approach, but it is not a decision left to the students or, worse yet, a group threatening direct action unless the university yields on a matter of academic principle.

The group also asked for UChicago to impose a mandatory “Diversity and Inclusion” requirement for graduation that would be “primarily focused on any US-centric structural oppression, such as race, gender, and sexuality.” Once again, such a requirement has a direct impact on the academic mission and principles.  Many would object to the obvious endorsement of the structural oppression premise of the requirement.

Other academic-related demands include the changing of the social science and humanities curriculums to “include more insight from Black authors, specifically Black women” and to require more teaching of the “the Islamic Golden Age.”

The students also insist that the department be independent but funded by the university.  UChicago is also asked to establish “university-funded and run cultural houses, specifically a Black House, a Latinx House, and an Asian House.”  This is less of an academic matter but it does run counter to the position on safe spaces and the desire for students to live an open, vibrant, and unsegregated environment.  The demands for race-based separation would materially alter the UChicago environment.

There is always room to discuss suggestions for improving the feelings of inclusion and addressing racial concerns for students. However, UChicago should refuse to negotiate over demands that would fundamentally alter its academic curriculum and values.  Those decisions rest with the faculty and should be based exclusively on intellectual and academic values.

Here are the demands: UChicago List

 

44 thoughts on “Student Groups Demand UChicago Change Curriculum, Housing, and Departments Along Racial Lines

  1. What is this crap about students making demands?It’s a college stupid!If they want that then they should apply to Howard or Lincoln Universities..or maybe they wouldn’t be accepted there.I think this racist crap has got to stop…to me, it’s why we now have a Trump as President, a bigot for Attorney General and a cracker as Senate Majority leader.

  2. I believe in a lot of things that people in the left believe. I’m anti-corporate, anti-bigotry, pro-environment, believe in science, all that shit–but this kind of thing, this is why it pisses me off to be mistaken for a liberal. I get that a whole lot of folks have been marginalized for most of modern history, but the truth at the bottom of the barrel is not an “everybody is special” reality–despite my admiration of Mister Rogers–but an understanding that none of us are special. None better than the others. None worse, at least not in this context. U of Chicago has perhaps the best approach to inclusion of any university in the country. This is ridiculous.

  3. “the world is full of people running about with lit matches. Every minority, be it Baptist/Unitarian, Irish/Italian/Octogenarian/Zen Buddhist, Zionist/Seventh-Day Adventist, Women’s Lib/Republican, Mattachine/FourSquareGospel feels it has the will, the right, the duty to douse the kerosene, light the fuse.”

  4. I think there is another aspect to black students demanding all sorts of stupid concessions, at this school, and others. Remember, 72% of black kids are illegitimate, and a large number of them receive little or no discipline. They are little savages at school, and they have been indoctrinated by the Liberal Democrats to blame every bad thing in their life, of which there are plenty, on white people, and white privilege, and institutionalized racism, and mass incarceration, and post traumatic slavery disorder, and Jim Crow, whatever. And at no point have they been taught that it is their own mother’s irrationality and irresponsibility that is to blame for any of it. They are often passed from grade to grade, in spite of not knowing much, because to flunk them would be racisssst!

    Sooo, they screw off in K-12 school, and act like little entitled savages, and then one day, they wind up in college. What has ever happened in their life to prepare them for disciplined studying? For reading books not written on a 6th grade level? For putting in 3 hours of study for every classroom hour? What has ever prepared them for having to compete in a class with the many white kids who aren’t stupid and irresponsible like them?

    Nothing.

    That is why they want to hold up in their own dorms, and study their own stupid black dumbed-down issues, and just get a college degree the same way they got a high school degree. By just showing up.

    Either that, or the Old Segregationists were right all along.

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  5. Long live racism, reverse racism and Soros inspired racism. The group is obviously racist. Who unplugged the melting pot? Isn’t this phenomena equal to the rise of progressivism since 1898 with roots in the pre and post Civil War Democrat Party? Why yes …so it is. Slave Owners in the South, slave traders in the north turned Jim Crow and Black Laws Party turned anti civil rights party turned international and national socialists based on Marxist-Lenism

    Wow isn’t that a history to be proud of. NOT.

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