Campus Free Speech

'Oppression Studies,' Actual Oppression Coming to American University

Don't make students live and breathe social justice.



As I reported previously, American University's plot to reorient its core curriculum around social justice education and activism seems like it could be a nightmare for students—particularly if it extends to life in the dormitories.

In a recent column for The Daily Beast, I argue that such a plan resembles the University of Delaware's reign of terror in the residence halls:

This plan, if approved, would add AU to the list of campuses attempting to turn its residence halls into re-education camps. The most famous example was the University of Delaware, which previously required students to submit to a rigorous and intrusive ideological training program with the explicit goal of changing their "incorrect" beliefs and transforming them into eager leftist activists. The almost unbelievably Orwellian program was centered on dorm life, where residential advisers routinely interrogated students (on the orders of the campus housing department) about everything from their sex lives to their political beliefs. 

The RAs kept files on individual students; those who didn't show enough progress toward reforming their problematic views were publicly shamed at mandatory meetings, and even disciplined. Only the eventual involvement of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education—which launched an advocacy campaign that persuaded Delaware to abolish the indoctrination program—liberated the students from enforced conformity.

AU would be wise to eschew the path of Delaware.

Read the full thing here.