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September 26, 2023

My Alma Mater Has Turned Into a Leftist Re-Education Camp

It was recently announced that Bryn Mawr is inaugurating a program to address the phantom problems of bigotry on campus.

When my father proudly mentioned to one of his colleagues that his firstborn child had just been accepted to Bryn Mawr College, he responded: “Let’s hope she doesn’t stop shaving her underarms.”

This quip was relayed to me years later by that same gentleman, with a half apology.

While there was some truth to the suggestion that Bryn Mawrters were not exactly glittery Disney princesses, I didn’t notice an unusual amount of hirsute women flooding the campus. We seemed to run the normal range, from exceptionally fashionable to exceptionally nerdy, with most of us falling somewhere in between.

Taking into consideration we were a single-sex college, we represented a fairly accurate cross-section of society. Black, white and brown. African, Asian and American. Immigrant and native-born. Smart and much, much smarter. Straight and gay. Probably a lot more of the latter.

I say all of this to provide some sort of context for my disgust at my alma mater’s new, unnecessary and divisive push for “inclusion.” It was recently announced that Bryn Mawr, a school that regularly charges over $60,000 in tuition, is inaugurating a program for the upcoming 2023-24 academic year to address the phantom problems of bigotry on campus.

On the school’s website, they set out a 59-point action plan designed to overhaul every aspect of college life, including courses, campus life and financial aid. The thing that most angers me about this initiative, called “Advancing Equity, Inclusion and Anti-Racism” is its flagrant hypocrisy.

If you are charging someone many thousands of dollars to attend your hallowed institution, it really isn’t nice to accuse them of being bigots before even stepping foot on campus.

This presumption that we need to send the little darlings to re-education camps in the leafy climes of suburban Philadelphia is anathema to the whole principle of higher education.

And then we have the actual programs.

If you read the description on the college’s website, you will find the words “inclusion,” “equity,” “anti-racism,” “ignorance,” “bias” and “social justice” included dozens of times.

You cannot find a sentence that does not have one of these catchwords and phrases, that mean absolutely nothing but trigger a sense that this place is a hotbed of “exclusion,” “inequity,” “racism,” and “social injustice.”

The need to castigate people for sins they have not yet committed, and require a daily regimen of self-flagellation is not what parents want their daughters to have to deal with while they are shelling out thousands of dollars in tuition.

I am livid that the school from which I obtained my degree is instituting this overhaul in response to the sense that some people are victims — in their own minds — and those who do not agree are the victimizers.

I cannot believe that a school that dedicated itself to educating young women to be self-sufficient and to stand tall and alone in the world is now coaxing them into one of two postures: guilt for crimes they have not committed against victims they never met or in the alternative, hostility against people who never harmed them.

That is what DEI programs create and foment, this sense that history is an albatross and that we will always be rooted in the racism and hatred of our ancestors.

To treat students to an entire year, and likely multiple years of crash courses in how our identity is the only thing that really matters is to undermine the excellence that was the hallmark of Bryn Mawr College for generations.

I say “was” because, sadly, the school has dipped somewhat in the rankings from when I studied there back in 1979-1983.

I say these things with no happiness. I long ago cut the umbilical cord with my once-beloved alma mater, horrified at the turn that it had taken into a land where the way you say something is more important than what is being said, where pronouns were fungible things, where the color of your skin did in fact determine the content of your character and where they actually invited Angela Davis as an “honored speaker.”

It is like watching your own mother die of a slow and debilitating form of cancer.

When I was hoisting my lantern in the cloisters in 1983, I used to think that I’d be back when my own daughter was enrolled at Bryn Mawr.

I never had children, but even if I did, I wouldn’t have sent them to a school where they were regularly shamed and told that they needed to overcome their privilege and power, right after I had forked over $60,000 to the guys lecturing them.

Copyright 2023 Christine Flowers

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