The University of Wisconsin – Madison has a plan for increasing diversity on campus. It’s not entirely a concept without merit and I don’t even necessarily disagree with some of their background research that indicates that diversity is good for education, unfortunately the plan leaves quite a lot to be desired.
Buried in the almost unbearable academic terminology of this “Framework for Diversity and Inclusive Excellence” lies some completely disturbing (and insulting) plans for increasing diversity in their university.
Now the sections that say that more “diverse” staff and teachers should be hired (with no actual consideration included for whether these employees are actually qualified…I mean, who cares right? Just hire “diverse” people to hit your quota) are stupid enough, but it’s the 2009 document on “Inclusive Excellence” from the Board of Regents (which uses identical language to this new “Framework”) that includes a tidbit on how to promote inclusive excellence that really has me worried.
The idea, I suppose, is based on the idea that the “privileged” students (i.e. white, middle class students) really just have an unfair advantage on grades. They shatter the grading “curve” or something. Therefore “underprivileged” and “historically underrepresented” diversity* groups will get special consideration in “distribution of grades”.
Now I don’t know about you, but I tend to think that the grade you can make in a class is a reflection of how much work you were willing to put into. Sure there are the occasional students who seem to always make straight As, even when they never study and party every night, but generally everyone has to work to get a good grade. Some people have to work harder than others, need extra help and tutoring, but that doesn’t mean you make it easier and just hand them the grade because they happen to be part of a group that is “underrepresented” in college or in a specific field.
Who here wants a female engineer to build a bridge for their town when she only got the grades to graduate because women are “underrepresented” in STEM fields?
Do you want your doctor to have gotten his place in Medical school because he filled a quota and got their bachelor’s degree in pre-Med because of his racially or socio-economically “diverse” background?
This entire practice is, quite frankly, more damaging to the minority groups they are misguidedly trying to ‘help’ gain equality. The only equality here is the equalized mediocrity of low expectations and the equalized outcome of a minority students degree not being worth the paper it is printed on. How can I trust the degrees of anyone who is considered “diverse” who graduates from this University? How can I take them seriously if something like this plan is actually put in place?
Honestly, I can’t and no one can expect me too.
This kind of “equality” has long lasting and dangerous side effects. It encourages “underprivileged” students become victims and enforces the idea that they can’t do anything, can’t accomplish anything, without the government “dumbing” everything down for them.
However, it’s not just the students that suffer long term. It’s also the workforce and the state of education a whole.
Here’s a list of the school’s that UW-Madison has available of which any of them could graduate a student based not on their grades
or skill, but on the fact that they “deserve” to graduate with a degree because of their underprivileged background.
While I could make any number of points about the terrible consequences of teachers, engineers, lawyers, nurses, or doctors coming out of this university, but the last school on this list is the real tragedy.
I solemnly looked into my dog’s eyes last night, as I started to write this article, and told her with complete honesty:
“Sasha, I swear to you, I will never take you to a veterinarian who got their degree from University of Wisconsin – Madison.”
It might have been my imagination, but I think she sighed in relief.
* In this new plan it’s all about “diversity” rather than just racial or ethnic differences…here’s how the school defines it.