#1 Campuses cautiously train freshmen against subtle insults by ThirstyMan 07.09.2016 11:24

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By Stephanie Saul, New York Times News Service September 6, 2016

Clark University,Worcester, MA -- A freshman tentatively raises her hand and takes the microphone. “I’m really scared to ask this,” she begins. “When I, as a white female, listen to music that uses the N-word, and I’m in the car, or, especially when I’m with all white friends, is it OK to sing along?”

The answer, from Sheree Marlowe, the new chief diversity officer at Clark University, is an unequivocal “no.”

The exchange was included in Marlowe’s presentation to recently arriving first-year students focusing on subtle “microaggressions,” part of a new campus vocabulary that also includes “safe spaces” and “trigger warnings.”

Microaggressions, Marlowe said, are comments, snubs or insults that communicate derogatory or negative messages that might not be intended to cause harm but are targeted at people based on their membership in a marginalized group.

Among her other tips: Don’t ask an Asian student you don’t know for help on your math homework or randomly ask a black student if he plays basketball. Both questions make assumptions based on stereotypes. And don’t say “you guys.” It could be interpreted as leaving out women, said Marlowe, who realized it was offensive only when someone confronted her for saying it during a presentation.

Clark, a private liberal arts college that has long prided itself on diversity and inclusion, is far from the only university stepping up discussions of racism and diversity in orientation programs this year.

Once devoted to ice cream socials, tutorials on campus technology systems and advice on choosing classes, orientation for new students is changing significantly, with the issue taking on renewed urgency this year as universities increasingly try to address recent racial and ethnic tensions on campuses as well as an onslaught of sexual assault complaints and investigations.

In addition to diversity sessions, many campuses train students on exactly what constitutes sexual consent as well as how to intervene when they see fellow students drinking excessively or poised to engage in nonconsensual sexual behavior.

Fresh on the minds of university officials are last year’s highly publicized episodes involving racist taunts at the University of Missouri in Columbia — which appear to have contributed to a precipitous decline in enrollment there this fall.

“That closes your doors,” said Archie Ervin, the vice president for institute diversity at Georgia Institute of Technology and president of the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education. “If you have sustained enrollment drops and disproportionately full-paying students such as out-of-state, the state legislature can’t make up the gap.”

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Sheree Marlowe, the chief diversity officer at Clark University. She works with students on how to avoid making assumptions based on stereotypes.


Some graduates have curtailed donations and students have suggested that diversity training smacks of some sort of communist re-education program.

The backlash was exemplified recently in a widely publicized letter sent to incoming freshmen at the University of Chicago by the dean of students, John Ellison.

[for more on this topic see: http://dailycaller.com/2016/08/24/uchica...aces-stay-away/ Note: the alumni are not happy!!! TM]

He warned that the university did not “support so-called trigger warnings, we do not cancel invited speakers because their topics might prove controversial and we do not condone the creation of intellectual safe spaces where individuals can retreat from ideas and perspectives at odds with their own.”

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http://www.boston.com/news/education/201...-subtle-insults

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