The focus of academia should be academics, but don’t tell that to the progressives on college campuses who place a higher value on diversity and social justice than scholarship.

A blind devotion to political correctness is quickly replacing serious study to the detriment of college students.

Brendan Pringle of the YAF blog has the story.

Inclusive Excellence: The Left’s Latest Distortion of Higher Education

For many years now, America’s universities have resorted to using diversity as a means to enhance their reputations. These efforts have culminated in what the Association of American Colleges and Universities (“AAC&U”) now calls the “Making Excellence Inclusive” Initiative. This initiative is “designed to help colleges and universities fully integrate diversity, equity, and educational quality efforts into their missions and institutional operations”.

The definition sounds harmless, but in practice, the AAC&U is encouraging universities to redefine its educational priorities and adopt more aggressive racial preferences programs as it selects its students and faculty.

As Denver University describes the initiative: “Inclusiveness and Excellence are merged and considered one and the same as opposed to the traditional perspective that separates the two concepts. To practice inclusiveness is excellence”.

Since when are the two concepts “one and the same”? Shouldn’t the world of academia be focused on academics?

Liberal administrators are gaining momentum from a national movement that seeks to dumb down higher education. Instead of providing a rigorous academic environment for students, universities are shifting their focus to “socialization”.

When Ann Coulter visited Cal Poly State University, the school’s Inclusive Excellence Council filed a complaint and held a hearing about Ann Coulter’s visit to the university, lamenting that during her Q-and-A, Coulter attempted to “intimidate” and “demean” students who sought to challenge her views. Ironically, the administrator that filed the complaint did not even attend the event.

This initiative is simply another way for universities and colleges to become a bully for liberal causes rather than stand up for the marketplace of ideas. Students (and parents) aren’t spending thousands of dollars in tuition every year for a glorified form of sensitivity training.

Beyond this, the link between Inclusive Excellence and the use of racial preferences is unmistakable.

One AAC&U-sponsored essay comments extensively on the necessity of increasing the number of racially/ethnically diverse students as part of a “comprehensive plan to make excellence inclusive”.

San Jose State University, a “model” campus for the AAC&U’s initiatives, has hand-picked “diverse” faculty search committees and is now training department chairs and committees to accomplish this objective.

This group would naturally feel coerced to choose the most “diverse” candidates in the pool over those who may be more qualified.

At CSU Long Beach, a new “Essentials for Managers Certificate Program” includes “diversity recruitment strategies” and a “Supervisory Skills Certificate Program” at the university includes “diversity training”.

Deans at CSULB feel similar pressure, as the Office of Equity and Diversity provides them with data from an annual Affirmative Action Report “that reveals any instances of underutilization on the basis of race or gender in their respective departments”.

The world of academia is assuming consensus on a matter that affects the future career prospects of its students. By shifting the focus from academics, participating institutions are sacrificing their own prestige and the value of their degrees for the sake of political correctness.