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Thursday, September 22, 2005

State of the University

From the State of the University address by UNC Chancellor James Moeser:

However, the essence of the diversity we seek is not something that can be captured in data. It is intangible; it deals with the spirit, with the culture of the campus.

I want to extend this idea to every dimension of human interaction, including race, religion, politics and sexuality. Some of these categories are the very fault lines in the culture wars in America today. This is our raison d’etre. This University was created at the beginning of the American republic to be a laboratory for democracy. We can show America how to have civil discourse about difficult topics.

We can have a campus culture where gays and lesbians feel welcome, where faith-based groups and political conservatives, as well as liberals, feel that their voice can be heard and respected, and we can do this without adopting speech codes or infringing upon the First Amendment or academic freedom. We can do this.


It's nice to see him pay lip service to the concept of ideological diversity. Let's see if the University follows through.

2 Comments:

At 10:22 AM, Blogger Dave Justus said...

I agree that his expansion of diversity is a good step.

I have never been comfortable with the concept of diversity as a positive benefit though. It brings with it the idea that black students, for example, are in the university not because of their own merits, or their own needs, but as a means of providing diversity to the white students.

That idea is about as racist as anything I have ever seen.

 
At 10:13 PM, Blogger Greg said...

Diversity has its benefits, but it is not a substitute for achievement. Another form of affirmative action at UNC is that the school has to admit one student from each county in North Carolina.

Diversity is less beneficial given reality; for example, blacks tended to sit with blacks in the cafeteria, and whites with whites, thus leading to not a whole lot of benefit from having a large minority population.

Just consider the diversity I brought to UNC, though. In my time there, I was probably the only active member of the RPGA Network (the only other I knew was an employee). That certainly enhanced the diversity of the school!

 

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