A glaring example of the backward logic surrounding the University’s commitment to “diversity” is miles from any Cincinnati courthouse and closer to home than any of us would care to admit. Fierce debates over the merits of affirmative action have yet to move beyond the University’s admissions practices and focus on our own backyard.In fact, the fire raging in a U.S. Court of Appeals and likely to engulf the Supreme Court, stoked by rhetoric-spewing machines of the likes of the Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action By Any Means Necessary, have drawn our collective attention away from the numerous wrongs committed by a University administration bent on evoking its diversity mandate well beyond the admissions process.

Paul Wong
Kevin McNeil

The reality is that the University, staid and demure in its “defense” of race-based admission, is closer in practice to the Trotskyite-apparatus of BAMN and its political wing, the Defend Affirmative Action Party. The University action arm reaches closer to home than any BAMN activist possibly could. Yes, the University’s affirmative action attack-wing is no less than University Housing.

When DAAP looks to get the affirmative action word out it realizes that rallies, sit-ins and leaflets may be in vogue, but that the real opportunity lies with the wide-eyed freshmen in the residence halls. The University realized this long before BAMN ever took to the residence halls. What better place to justify race-based admissions and hiring practices than in the one arena where 97 percent of all undergraduates spend at least one year? And who better to serve on the front lines in this propaganda war than the residence advisors.

The RA hiring process is slanted towards minorities from recruitment to selection. A quota of slots are reserved for minorities under the title of Minority Peer Advisor – a position with a set of selection criteria based entirely upon race. It is but one method employed by University Housing to guarantee a certain quota minorities. Furthermore, how many white males make it through the process, much less are recruited to apply? A handful at best even though the application process lacks race/sex/sexual orientation/ancestry-based qualifiers as any other legitimate employment process. University Housing utilizes an intensive daylong interview process to screen out non-minority applicants.

Residence advisors must elect a semester long course, Psychology 405: Social Psychology in Community Settings, as part of their “community” training. For several hours a week, soon-to-be RAs learn not a single tangible skill for becoming an effective residence advisor. Security guidelines and safety measures are absent in this course and are even discouraged from being discussed. Rather, soon-to-be RAs work through several modules with titles like “Difference and Domination” and “Intergroup Conflict.” Required course readings range from the bizarre to the overtly racist.

One entitled, “Uprooting Racism: How White People Can Work For Racial Justice,” seeks to teach RA’s how to educate “white people” (i.e. white students and residents) to use their privileged, oppressive history to benefit those they “subjugate.” Another reading, entitled “Identity” teaches RAs that most students (i.e. their white residents) are in a passive stage of acceptance of society’s inequities and their structural advantages, but that later stages involve redefining “whiteness” in “non-racist” terms. The upshot of the entire reading to RAs is that nearly all of their white residents are inherently racist – a position that is “correctable” through various techniques at the heart of the RA program.

The entire RA education program is but a reflection of the backwards thinking that the University is willing to promote in an effort to achieve racial “diversity.” Using race as a factor in admissions is but a small part of a grander University scheme to advance an agenda more radical than any rhetorical platform spewed forth by BAMN. How deep does this ideology run? Time may only tell, but the University is well-prepared for a loss at the Supreme Court – race continues to drive the University and its effects run far deeper than the admissions office.

Kevin McNeil can be reached at kmcneil@umich.edu.

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