Free Minds & Free Markets

Oregon State University Will Force Incoming Students to Take 'Social Justice Training'

Students will learn to report bias incidents (like pro-Trump chalk messages).

angerDreamstimeCritics of the current intellectual climate at university campuses believe classrooms are indoctrination camps where left-wing academics brainwash students into becoming social justice activists. They are mistaken. The most pernicious and questionably legal forms of indoctrination aren't happening in the classroom at all, and are primarily driven by administrators rather than professors. 

Oregon State University provides a good example. The campus has plans to implement a new training program for incoming freshmen in the fall of 2016. Dr. Angela Batista, the campus's interim diversity officer, sent an email to students earlier this week asking them to review the proposed training program. This training is ideological by its very nature: students will complete on-line modules in "social justice learning," "diversity," and "inclusivity." 

"This training initiative is intended to provide all students entering Oregon State University an orientation to concepts of diversity, inclusion and social justice and help empower all OSU students to contribute to an inclusive university community," according to the proposal. 

The modules will brief students on the history of social justice activism at Oregon, stress the importance of diversity and inclusivity, and provide students with resources to "incorporate the pursuit of social justice within their university experiences." It will let them know about the Bias Response Team, which provides a website where students can report each other for perceived harassment. 

The BRT's latest efforts make clear what kind of nonsense counts as a "bias incident." The team has been studiously investigated the appearance of chalk messages on campus. These messages targeted "Muslims and immigrant communities." It seems likely they were actually pro-Trump messages, since Batista also felt the need to reluctantly clarify that Oregon "does not oppose any particular political candidate." Nevertheless, students are encouraged to report chalk drawings that offend them to a variety of university bureaucrats, according to Batista's email. 

Students who want to become social justice activists are welcome to do so—and should take advantage of the university's considerable resources geared toward such a life. If professors want to instill left-wing values in their students, they can: as long as they make reasonable accommodations for students to challenge them and engage in an exchange of ideas. 

Indoctrination via non-classroom training module, on the other hand, is a much more worrisome system, because it's harder for students to challenge administrators than it is for them to challenge their professors. A student has no method of dissenting during an online training session on the necessity of complying with the university's diversity dictates. Indeed, students might reasonably fear that agreeing with the ideology of the trainers is a precondition of coming to campus. 

Students are no longer merely required to grapple with leftist ideas in the classroom—they increasingly must live, sweat, and breathe "oppression studies." It is no wonder that so many of them have developed a healthy disrespect for the principles of the First Amendment. They are being trained—not taught, but trained—to think everything that offends them is a bias incident. 

Photo Credit: Dreamstime

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Winston||

    Libertarian Moment!

  • Soave the Last Dance for Me||

    Who pulled Winston's string this time?

  • ||

    These euphemisms . . .

  • Winston||

    The Illuminati.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Hey be nice. It can't be easy to go through life with nothing interesting to say.

  • Pat (PM)||

    Physician, heal thyself.

  • DenverJ||


  • Zeb||

    I think Hugh said something interesting last year sometime.

  • R C Dean||

    Now, now, I've seen a couple of people agree with Hugh lately. Hell, I think he wrote something I agreed with.

  • pan fried wylie||

    Bi-/Di-/Tri- is still too exclusive. "Multiversity" could work as long as it doesn't become associated with multiplication, which would be sexist.

  • ||

    Dammit, wylie, it's patriarchal, not sexist. White cishetero males exclude not only wombyn, but also brown and black males from education. Therefore, math is a patriarchal construct only used to further the ends of white male protestant heteronormative supremacy.

  • Quincy.||


  • paranoid android||


    It's true that students from parallel universes are very underrepresented on our campuses.

  • R C Dean||

    students from parallel universes are very underrepresented on our campuses

    I'm not so sure. These SJWers don't seem to be from the same planet as me, at least.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    The most pernicious and questionably legal forms of indoctrination aren't happening in the classroom at all, and are primarily driven by administrators rather than professors.

    It's good to see Professors railing against this.

  • Scarecrow & WoodChipper Repair||

    Can't be stepping on that other union's prerogatives!

  • dschwar||

    Can't be a union; the administrators are management and management doesn't have unions. They just get to dole out money/office space/parking spaces to the professors.

  • ||

    The modules will . . . stress the importance of diversity and inclusivity

    "Which is why we want to make sure we scrub for all unwanted ideas going into this thing, okay?"

  • Winston||

    You Know Who Else thought that agreeing with the ideology of the trainers was a precondition of coming to campus?

  • invisible finger||

    Bobby Knight?

  • ||

    Every seminary student ever?

  • Winston||

    Thank goodness for social liberalism and social tolerance.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Students are no longer merely required to grapple with leftist ideas in the classroom—they increasingly must live, sweat, and breathe "oppression studies." It is no wonder that so many of them have developed a healthy disrespect for the principles of the First Amendment. They are being trained—not taught, but trained—to think everything that offends them is a bias incident.

    INGSOC is all over it.

  • LynchPin1477||

    the Bias Response Team, which provides a website where students can report each other for perceived harassment

    Do they realize they sound Orwellian? Do they want to?

  • Winston||

    Orwell was basing it off Stalin so...

  • Neon Bible||


  • Ron||

    Orwell's books are probably not allowed on these campuses for fear that it would open the students eyes to what is happening.

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    1984 and Animal Farm are clearly micro aggressive, on a macro level.

  • Princess Trigger||

    They're cook books.

  • Quincy.||

    You know what? Orwell was kind a rapey:

    “Suddenly, by the sort of violent effort with which one wrenches one's head away from the pillow in a nightmare, Winston succeeded in transferring his hatred from the face on the screen to the dark−haired girl behind him. Vivid, beautiful hallucinations flashed through his mind. He would flog her to death with a rubber truncheon. He would tie her naked to a stake and shoot her full of arrows like Saint Sebastian. He would ravish her and cut her throat at the moment of climax. Better than before, moreover, he realized why it was that he hated her. He hated her because she was young and pretty and sexless, because he wanted to go to bed with her and would never do so, because round her sweet supple waist, which seemed to ask you to encircle it with your arm, there was only the odious scarlet sash, aggressive symbol of chastity.”
  • Zeb||

    So far I don't think they are purging the libraries of all rape references. Probably needs a trigger warning if it's on the reading list, though.

  • BigT||

    So thoughts are rape? Speech is violence? War is peace? Etc.

  • Quincy.||


  • dantheserene||

    That would certainly be in keeping with the theme of both Orwell's better-known works and the SJW mindset.

  • Jordan||

    Hopefully FIRE gets involved and reminds them that loyalty oaths are unconstitutional.

  • Winston||

    loyalty oaths are unconstitutional.


  • Winston||

    All of this diversity and inclusivity reminds me of this:,_1950

    Candidates required the signatures of 100 registered voters in order to be able to run for office.[1] However, opposition parties were not tolerated by the ruling People's Front.[1] However, no opposition candidates were allowed to stand, with only a single People's Front candidate standing in each constituency.[4] Prime Minister Josip Broz Tito claimed that any alternative programme would be hostile to socialism, and "this, naturally, we cannot allow".[4]

    As there were no opposition candidates, voters had the choice of voting for the People's Front or casting a negative vote.[4] Voting was carried out using rubber balls, with voters having to place their hands in both ballot boxes to ensure secrecy.[2]

    Following "successful reducation", 67,000 voters had their rights to vote restored after being disenfranchised for "anti-people's activities", although 56,000 people remained disenfranchised for that reason.[1]

  • Zeb||

    For a minute I thought that was from 1984.

  • LynchPin1477||

    Donald Trump tells CNN's Wolf Blitzer the he would be "open to doing something" with the minimum wage

    It's starting.

  • Winston||

    Raise it to $20!

  • Scarecrow & WoodChipper Repair||

    +$1 for every floor in the HQ building.

  • invisible finger||

    Eliminating it would be something. Would be even more effective at preventing illegal aliens than building a wall.

    (I know this is not what Trump has in mind.)

  • Haha, charade you are||

    I was just thinking that myself. I could easily see Trump calling to raise the minimum wage rate in the border states as a means to keep out those dastardly immigrants. Shameful from a libertarian prospective, but still a helluva lot better than the damn wall.

  • invisible finger||

    LOWERING the minimum wage in border states would decrease the immigration.

    Raising the minimum wage in the border states would increase the number of dastardly immigrants. They would be the only ones who could realistically work for a productivity-based wage.

  • invisible finger||

    So the "plan" the stupid American public would accept would be to raise the minimum wage in all non-border states. The Northern socialists would get most of what they want and the Southern racists would get exactly what they want.

    This is the art of the deal.

  • commodious spittoon||

    What brought you about to American libertarianism, anyway? Truth is universal, but politics (thank god) isn't. Are you an emigre, or have you just got bizarre interests?

  • CZmacure||

    Yes, nothing decreases the value of illegal labor like a dramatic and sudden increase in the price of legal labor.

  • The Grinch||

    Hopefully he's open to eliminating it but I'm prepared to be disappointed.

  • Winston||

    So if he wants to raise it will Hillary suddenly become a libertarian or will this be used as evidence of his insane libertarianism?

  • LynchPin1477||

    I don't think Hillary will be able to beat him by out maneuvering him on labor/tax/economics issues. He'll match or outdo her at every turn.

  • invisible finger||

    Again, it is brilliant campaign tactics. Trump can now lie to the population at large instead of the GOP base. Hilary is still stuck lying to her base because Sanders won't go away. She may not even be able to lie about curbing immigration and cutting arms sales to the Saudis until after the convention and even then she has to be careful - she has so many targeted audiences to lie to she is liable to slip up.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Hillary has already been libertarian-- or essentially republican because she's used multiple republican talking points to counter Bernie Sanders.

  • invisible finger||

    It's starting.

    Yes. The general campaign is starting. No more lying to the base during primary season, now it is time to lie to everyone else.

  • Winston||

    Remind me of a supposed newspaper headline about Bill Clinton: "Budget Battle Over But More Lies Ahead"

  • Pan Zagloba||

    Variant I've seen is "Reagan Wins On Budget But More Lies Ahead."

  • Rhombus Parallelogram, Jr.||

    "We're going to look at it, believe me. We've got a lot of people, millions of people, who aren't getting it done with the minimum wage as it is right now. I'll tell you, I've got a lot of people, great people, that are going to take a look at it and you're gonna love it when we get through."

  • ||

    I could tell you that Trump is the person who said that, even if I didn't know it before hand. No one else talks like that.

  • R C Dean||

    Oregon State University Will Force Incoming Students to Take 'Social Justice Training'

    And That's Not OK?


  • Alcibiades||

    So what if you articulate loudly in the "Social Justice Training" class that the very term "social justice" is incoherent, in fact, is nothing but intellectual excrement?

  • ||

    Then you fail, and must take the course again.

  • Alcibiades||

    Ok that's compelled speech, and clearly violates the FA.

    The ACLU will support me in this...wont they?

  • Trshmnstr, terror of the trash||


    *fails to suppress a snicker*

  • ||

    Ok that's compelled speech

    No - it's compelled silence, while they speak, which I don't believe the 1A covers, citizen.

  • Alcibiades||

    It's compelled speech if I'm required to "adopt" a particular ideological position to attend a public institution of higher learning, that's prohibited under the FA.

  • JWW||

    Correction, that used to be prohibited under the first amendment. Hillary's new justice will see to it that it will stay that way.

  • croaker||

    FIRE, forget ACLU.

  • Charles Easterly||

    You are politely invited to mandatory Sensitivity Training?

  • Alcibiades||

    Well, as long as they ask politely I guess.

  • LarryA||

    So what if you articulate loudly in the "Social Justice Training" class...

    It's an online class. You can yell at your computer as loud as you want.

  • __Warren__||

    So they think that forcing more people to learn about this shit will generate more support for it?

    This will not have the results they think it will.

  • ||

    It will have roughly the same effect as NRO lecturing the plebs about their distasteful support for Trump.

  • Scarecrow & WoodChipper Repair||

    Then off you go to the Remedial Social Justice Training Camp.

  • Alcibiades||

    OT, the regrouping/rebuilding/recalibrating has already started:

  • ant1sthenes||

    Let me guess, "Trump is terrible and will make it harder for our lobbyists to make good on their investment in our politicians. We should refocus conservative efforts on important things, like making sure that cop dick is properly serviced."

    Sorry, David Cheese-Eating-Surrender-Monkey, but society's institutions have been increasingly subverted and captured by a hostile, viral ideology that degrades the function of all systems and turns them toward the ends of the virus and the virus maker, and which has no problem with corruption or using political repression against its enemies. Slow steady reform is like slowly, steadily trying to close all the pop-up windows it throws up at you, and slowly, steadily deleting all the copies it makes of itself. Yeah, if you hadn't spent so much time at dodgy porn sites over the past century or more, you probably wouldn't be in this situation, but now you are, and your only recourse is to wipe the hard disk and do a clean install. Better hope you have some backups and that it didn't get your firmware, or else you better learn to live without the machine.

  • ant1sthenes||

    IOW, here is the only useful conservative agenda (incidentally, one that works for a lot of libertarians as well): take off and nuke the site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure. Anything less is wasted effort. Shatter every big institution into pieces, and burn every prog institution like it's a corpse bleeding out of its eyes. Now, Trump is probably not that nuke. But in the likely case that he isn't, conservatives better get cracking on enriching some political plutonium. Or actual plutonium, either way works I guess.

  • Winston||

    Time to bring back the Test Act?

  • Charles Easterly||

    The woman in the picture bears a remarkable resemblance to Toni Collette, at least to my eyes.

    With regards to the content of the article I've but one inarticulate response: Ack!

    From the OSU Bias Incident Report From for which Robby provided a link: "Please use this form to report an incident of bias."

    At the bottom of the form the individual may choose which descriptor best fits him or her (or xe, I should think).

    They are not in alphabetical order, and "Victim" is the first option.

  • straffinrun||

    The university may lead an appropriate community response. WTH does that mean? A mob riot?

  • straffinrun||

    Darn italics

  • B. Woodrow Chippenhaus||

    Maybe they should have a little chat with Missouri about the effect that caving to SJW stupidity has on enrollment figures.

  • invisible finger||

    Different part of the country. SJW's are a lot bigger bloc in Oregon than Missouri.

  • Winston||

    I misread that as Mussolini and remembered that he came to power in part because the fascists fought back against labour unions that had openly Soviet sympathies.

  • Real American||

    they should immediately report the training as bigoted against intelligent people.

  • ||

    I may have totally misinterpreted my time at University but 'diversity' and 'inclusivity' didn't need to be explained as it was understood we were entering a place of *supposed* higher learning and intellectualism. These administrators act as if colleges were closed-minded institutions which I doubt very much.

    This is what we call social engineering and if I were a productive and intelligent student and a parent of such a student, I would steer clear of these piece of shit places.

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    In essence, a learning environment would lend itself to openness and the questioning of ones assumptions, so why would you need a special course on how to not be prejudiced?

    This has nothing to do with that, but rather "this is how we want you to think, any and all facts aside."

  • ||

    I'll never forget a black student lose it in class over an Edmund Burke quote repeated by the professor as part of a lesson on European affairs in Africa. The idiot wouldn't let it go. It was very much akin listening to someone try and jam a square in a triangle and get angry at geometry. It was as if the harder he retarded he may in fact change the course of history.

    I remember telling myself, "Dude, maybe History isn't your bag." Anyway, turns out he was dating my future wife's (who I hadn't met) best friend at the time. Yes, he was that much of an asshole with a gigantic chip on his shoulders in real life.

  • Pat (PM)||

    if I were a productive and intelligent student and a parent of such a student...

    It's OSU, so I don't think they really have to worry about that.

  • Zeb||

    Schools advertise diversity. Students are looking for it. Of course they don't need to be told about it. Especially at the kind of school that would have a program like that in the first place.

  • PapayaSF||

    Reason needs to produce a handy, short guide that demolishes the concept of "social justice." Just summarize Hayek. Put it as a PDF online, and encourage people to download it and take it to the indoctrination sessions. Hand it out like jury nullification brochures.

  • Microaggressor||

    Way too many cocktail parties on the line.

  • straffinrun||

    OSU will spit you out if you're lukewarm.

  • Rockabilly||

    They celebrate diversity
    As long as they
    Agree with your views

  • ||

    This sounds only slightly dumber than the standard freshman orientation that everyone who isn't a complete dork skips.

  • ant1sthenes||

    So, how do the courts assess that Scientology is a religion and Social Justice is not? How cult-like does this shit have to become before there is an establishment clause violation?

  • Demoted Comment (Slammer)||

    They also have a mascot name they have to address

  • ||

    In case no one has posted it yet. The cops are trying to one up themselves. This time it's kittycide!

    Brave hero shots dangerous house cat, was coming right at him

  • GILMORE™||

  • ||


  • ||

    Man oh man.

    How utterly cowardly are these bloody cops?

    They're now scared cats?

  • R C Dean||

    I've shot a couple of cats, I admit.

    OF course, they had been RUN OVER BY CARS and were suffering.

  • John C. Randolph||

    Well, as I thought when I heard about Jimmy Carter shooting his neighbor's cat: anyone who kills a cat can't be all bad.


  • Chipwooder||


  • GILMORE™||

    an orientation to concepts of diversity, inclusion and social justice and help empower all OSU students to contribute to an inclusive university community,"

    you can pretty much arrange the verbs and nouns in any order and get the same content-free mush. Its the amazing thing about PC lingo = its says *nothing*.

    'empower' is an odd one, since what they'll primarily be learning about is, "Things you can't say"

  • straffinrun||

    Diversincluniversity is how I read it.

  • Quincy.||


  • PapayaSF||

    How can you say it says nothing?? It totally signals VIRTUE, which is the point.

  • ||

    Kids these days are such spineless creatures. If they would have told me in college something like that, I would have told them to shove it straight up their ass and found another college to attend. I mean we had required classes for our major, of course, and then you had some electives. There was never any pure bullshit like that and I wouldn't have endured it for a minute.

  • DenverJ||

    Yeah, I'm pretty sure at least one student still call Fire, who will sue them, and win.

  • Bubba Jones||

    Social justice in the whitest place on earth?

  • ||

    So, after 8 years of Barack 'Totallynotasocialist' Obama we have State AGs offices sending out subpoenas for science deniers and campuses across the land turning into real no-shit indoctrination camps. What a shock.

    Screw every idiot who voted for that motherfucker. I hope they all get bone cancer. Every last one of them.

  • Rich||

    "Welcome to your first Social Justice Training class! I'm sure you're all eager to get started. So, would anyone care to define 'Social Justice'?"

    *** crickets ***

  • AlmightyJB||

    If you fuck one guy, you have to fuck them all. To be socially just. Otherwise you might hurt someones feelings.

  • AlmightyJB||

    "So, would anyone care to define 'Social Justice'?""

  • ||

    I'll take a stab at it.

    Social Justice: When I want to take away your first amendment rights and silence you because I don't agree with something you're saying .

    That was easy.

  • John C. Randolph||

    She sure looks like someone I would seek out for moral guidance.


  • Reactionary Moment||

    College really sucks nowadays. at least weed is legal in Oregon so you can get high before this training.

  • jdgalt||

    This is not mere office politics. This is "re-education" straight out of China's Cultural Revolution. Someone needs to march in and arrest every single one of the bureaucrats responsible for this horror for violating students' civil rights.

  • Jima||

    So are the little snowflakes forced to attend Oregon State? If not, then they're voluntarily signing on for their bullshit training. Liberty loving students should give this the finger or go to school somewhere else. Or skip every bullshit training module attempting to indoctrinate them into the fucked up thought processes of their chosen overlords. Walks away mumbling to self...

  • josh||

    i escaped college just in time. i weep for my cousins and nieces though. i hope they survive intact. if not, can i at least sue their school for making them into an obnoxious, albeit tolerant, know, just in case it comes to that.

  • VartAndelay||

    Fuck the Beavers.

  • croaker||

    This sounds like a job for FIRE.

  • c1638630||

    Most of us want to have good income but don’t know how too do that on Internet there are a lot of methods to earn money at home, so I thought to share with you a genuine and guaranteed method for free to earn huge sum of money at home anyone of you interested should visit the site. More than sure that you will get best result..


  • Diversionary Maenad||

    Article about the most recent town hall, where people gush with glee about the social justice training modules.. Note that "survey questions were asked and questions were addressed by concerned students and faculty members" but those concerns were not mentioned in the article, only praise for this thought-police garbage...


  • Johnx||

    This is just WRONG!!! I cannot believe the audacity of this school! There is nothing wrong with wanting to learn about other cultures, but to create more of Obama's minions by training them to be SJWs is WRONG! This course and the "diversity officer" position should be eliminated! I'll bet it would lower the cost of tuition. I suggest that all parents consider homeschooling.


Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online