When it comes to diversity, it’s philosophy – not race – that matters

Tiffany Oliver, Sugar in your gas tank

With the State of the University address recently passed, I noticed a heightened interest in recent weeks to university policies and initiatives. While reading the Case Daily, I noticed the special emphasis given to racial diversity in recent weeks. First, there is the new Social Justice Institute. Then there is the Case Western Reserve University Diversity Lecture Series. While it is commendable that people are dedicated to creating a more diverse atmosphere, I question the premise that diversity will create more educational opportunities, more tolerance and a better learning environment. While reading all of the advertisements for diversity events, no one mentioned any facts supporting the claim that racial diversity provides for a better education or is a positive influence. In fact, studies exist that show that women perform better in an all female atmosphere.

Elites in higher education strive to advertise a university’s racial diversity (which is the new trend), and it is well known that a person’s race can be a benefit for college admissions. It strikes me as odd that people do not see the blatant racism that is at the foundation of these policies. Believing that a person’s race makes them different – regardless if that difference is valued or scorned – is the root of racism.

If schools want to preach racial diversity, fine. Sure, for some students racial diversity may matter, and it matters in different ways to different people. While some students may be attracted to diversity, universities that go out of their way to create the stereotypical college brochure with students representing every imaginable ethnicity adorning the cover turn others off as appearing superficial. While many colleges are advertising their attempts to attain racial diversity, universities are not attempting to create philosophical diversity. In terms of benefits to an education, philosophical trumps benefits of racial diversity (unless you assume certain races are predisposed to certain beliefs).

I have noticed that CWRU is overrun by liberals- whether they are students, faculty members or employees. Liberals dominate the academic world, or so says statistics giving political breakdowns of professors’ political beliefs, and numbers show that liberals receive a higher level of education than conservatives. The great irony is that the same people pushing for race-based diversity are the first to call those who philosophically disagree intolerant. In their view, it is fine to express your opinion, as long as you agree with their views. To disagree is to be uneducated, or having a failure to truly understand the complexities of a given issue. Instead of creating tolerance, those opposed to diversity initiatives are chastised and ostracized.

If CWRU wants to truly be a bastion of diversity, which appears to be the case based on press releases from the administration, then they should strive to achieve more philosophical diversity among faculty and students. If the goal of race-conscious admissions is to create diversity through admitting people with different life experiences with special insight or unique opinions, then they need to address the clear lack of philosophical diversity, both among the student body and faculty.

My point is that if a school wants to be diverse, it should seek to create an atmosphere of intellectual diversity that forces students to defend their beliefs in a rational and logical manner. Schools need to stop advertising racial diversity as diversity, because racial homogeny is only one type of diversity that can be achieved. In order for true diversity to exist, a student body and faculty should not be overwhelmingly supportive of one ideology. Schools are misguided and blatantly racist if they believe racial diversity creates philosophical diversity, because such an assumption means that administrators believe race dictates opinions. A policy founded in racism is morally wrong, and fails to achieve any real diversity, beyond good-looking statistics on Princeton Review.