Clemson Spends Mega-Cash to Give Staff 'Sensitivity Training'

P. Gardner Goldsmith | April 11, 2017
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South Carolina is known as the home of Fort Sumter, the place where the first shots were fired in the Civil War. So perhaps it’s fitting that a student at one of the state’s most famous universities should fire a warning shot about the absurd political correctness erupting in the school administration.

The site is Clemson University, which reportedly planned last year to push its professors through “diversity training, as well as hire a new “Chief Diversity Officer."

The diversity officer, whose hiring was announced on Feb. 10 last year, is an attorney whose official position is -- get this -- “Chief Diversity Officer (CDO) and Special Assistant to the President for Inclusive Excellence." And of course, thanks to the inflation in higher education, this new Ivory Tower employee earns over $185,000 a year.

With his help, the school is now ready to implement its new “diversity training” via a company called Workplace Answers, at a cost of $26,945. And while it is unclear whether staff are required to take the class, Gunter notes that those who do not complete the training will “receive two automated reminders."

And what is the content of this “diversity training”? Is it about inclusiveness of ideas and the freedom to debate? Or is it about other things, like forcing staff members to accept liberal notions of “inclusiveness” regarding race?

If you guessed the latter, you get an A, no automated e-mails necessary.

In one of the training scenarios, writes Campus Reform's Mitchell Gunter, the following scenario is presented:

…(A) character named Alejandro schedules a 9:00 a.m. meeting between two groups of foreign professors and students. The first group arrived fifteen minutes early, while the second arrived ten minutes late. According to the answers, it is wrong for Alejandro to “politely ask the second group to apologize,” or explain that “in our country, 9:00 a.m. means 9:00 a.m.”

...Rather, the slide says that Alejandro should “recognize cultural differences that may impact the meeting and adjust accordingly,” and understand “that his cultural perspective regarding time is neither more nor less valid than any other.”

Should Clemson profs think this is a waste of time or money, that, in itself, is a sign of closed-mindedness, and, perhaps, white male privilege. Notes Gunter:

In one scenario between “Henry” and “Maxine,” Maxine thinks that inclusion and diversity training are about “political correctness,” and are a distraction, in response to which the training suggests that Henry should “discuss how diversity can lead to better decisions,” and “decrease employee turnover.”

The incorrect answer, the report notes, is to “say nothing” and assume Maxine is correct.

At a university that receives more than a quarter of its funds from government sources, using gobs of cash to fill the heads of professors with often extraneous and politically charged “sensitivity” concerns rather than allowing them to maximize their time to teach in their fields of expertise could be a problem for taxpayers.

But according to reports, that kind of sensitivity training is not included in the course.

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