Another Useless “Racial-Climate” Study

Campus commissars should look at ways to tamp down, not inflame, students’ grievances.

A new report by the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) contains a truly shocking finding: College students and the administrators self-tasked with their ideological direction have different ideas about “fixing” campus “climates.”

Underlying the new report is the contemporary leftist notion that one’s race is the single most important aspect of one’s being. No longer does society define a person based on his or her merit, accomplishments, or character; instead, race reigns above all.

The natural result of this ridiculous perspective can be seen in “Advancing Racial Justice on Campus: Student and Administrator Perspectives on Conditions for Change.” In the report, NASPA’s authors vow to explore racial justice in higher education, as well as how students and senior administrators compare and contrast in their view of the advancement of racial justice on campus.

In trying to get to the left of students, administrators have dug a hole that can never be filled.Perhaps unsurprisingly, administrators and students have a generally similar view of the importance of racial justice in higher education. The difference is that 65 percent of administrators think that their institution has made progress in “providing education” and “awareness-building … for faculty and staff,” while only 22 percent of students agree.

In other words, administrators believe that their efforts to hasten undergraduate utopia have been fruitful, while students disagree. Perhaps this is due to the fact that the administrators who create racial-education initiatives are much more aware of them than are the students themselves. Or perhaps, in trying to get to the left of their student charges, administrators have dug a hole that can never be sufficiently filled.

The report takes for granted that racial climates on campus need to be improved. It makes no mention of the potentially harmful effects of so-called bias-reporting or the message that minority students are victims. As the Martin Center’s Jenna A. Robinson wrote recently in “Bias Response Teams Have No Place on N.C. Campuses,” such projects are a threat to free speech. Rather than teaching the next generation to be strong critical thinkers who do not back down from debate, we are raising them to see themselves as victims and to hold others in contempt for every perceived slight and difference.

If NASPA wants to release a truly useful study, it should consider looking at that.

Grace Hall is a communications assistant at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal. She works and lives in Georgia.