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Josh Hammer / October 15, 2021

The Campus ‘Diversity’ Menace Comes to Yale

The objective is not to “win” the campus wars. They’ve already done that. The objective is to make the other side feel pain.

It is increasingly obvious that modern Americans universities, which are less institutions of unfettered intellectual pursuit than they are “madrasas of wokeness,” to borrow from the Independent Women’s Forum’s Inez Feltscher Stepman, are unsalvageable in most present manifestations. Though there are notable exceptions, many American universities are actually worse than unsalvageable. On-campus debauchery spoils matriculants’ lingering senses of virtue and propriety, and woke classroom indoctrination and divisive intersectional poison vitiates the mutually interdependent bonds of citizenry without which no people can cohere. As Arthur Milikh soberly concluded in a 2020 National Affairs essay, “Preventing Suicide by Higher Education”: “Universities that spread poisonous doctrines no longer believe in the purpose of the university.”

Pedagogical and curricular debasement aside, one concrete manifestation of this now-decadeslong corruption has been the engorgement of on-campus administrative bureaucracies tending to all sorts of “diversity” needs. As Heather Mac Donald’s 2018 book “The Diversity Delusion” helped demonstrate, the core university mission — ostensibly, to pursue truth and produce citizen-statesmen capable of advancing the national interest — has been steadily undermined by the university’s imbibing of various woke fetishes and “diversity” diktats like mother’s milk. Even holding aside the institutionalized racism of affirmative action, modern “diversitycrat” commissars rove campus for possible Title VI violations, enforce “equitable” faculty hiring quotas and more generally seek to police and enforce intersectionality’s hierarchy of alleged victimhood.

An eye-opening recent report from The Washington Free Beacon’s Aaron Sibarium reveals how this cancerous operation can play out in practice. At top-ranked Yale Law School, a second-year student and member of both the Native American Law Students Association and the conservative/libertarian Federalist Society sent an email inviting classmates to an event: “We will be christening our very own (soon to be) world-renowned NALSA Trap House… by throwing a Constitution Day Bash in collaboration with FedSoc.” The student added that the event would include “American-themed snacks” such as “Popeye’s chicken” and “apple pie.”

Within minutes of the email’s mass distribution, the student’s wokerati classmates were already signaling intense aggrievement. Some immediately concluded, with all the charity of Ebenezer Scrooge, that “trap house” necessarily connoted a nefarious blackface party. The president of the Black Law Students Association quickly wrote in an online forum available to all second-year Yale Law School students: “I guess celebrating whiteness wasn’t enough. Y'all had to upgrade to cosplay/black face.” We have fallen a long way from the stirring peroration of Abraham Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address (conveniently available online via Yale Law School) about the imperative to maintain “malice toward none” and “charity for all.”

If the story were to end there, it would be unfortunate, but hardly newsworthy. But it didn’t. Twelve hours after the email’s distribution, the student was summoned to the Office of Student Affairs and presented by the law school’s associate dean and diversity director with a laundry list of already filed grievances. The diversitycrat, a former Obama White House flunky, lamented how the student’s affiliation with FedSoc, a very mainstream right-of-center outfit often criticized by frustrated legal conservatives such as this columnist, “triggered” some classmates. The administrators not-so-subtly hinted that the student could face serious professional consequences, such as not being admitted to the bar association, if he did not apologize. The diversitycrat then drafted herself an “apology” letter, Soviet-style, and oh-so-kindly “offered” the student the chance to send the apology in lieu of “character-driven rehabilitation.”

But the key takeaway from this sordid ordeal is how the diversitycrat responded to the student’s demurring and suggestion to instead let his classmates reach out to him individually: “I don’t want to make our office look like an ineffective source of resolution.” And there lies the rub.

The diversitycrat’s line gives away the entire game, exposing how the very act of mass-hiring professional “diversity” personnel — especially on campus, but also in the corporate world, where it usually goes under the heading of “diversity, equity and inclusion” — necessarily leads, without additional firm guardrails in place, to witch hunts such as this. Commissars expressly hired to police “diversity” have, by very dint of what their positions necessarily are, built-in incentives to embellish and fabulize stories such as this in order to justify their very existence. The more the on-campus diversitycrat bureaucracy engorges, the more professionals there are who engage in roving inquisitions to seek, Ibram X. Kendi-style, the eradication of any and all “wrongthink” that may offend intersectional sensibilities. And these professionals must then justify their perches to administrative higher-ups: “I don’t want to make our office look like an ineffective source of resolution” might as well translate to, “Help me validate my job’s existence.”

The great irony is that, at a campus such as Yale’s, the near-ubiquitous and oppressive leftism means there is sufficient social opprobrium to deter most perceived “deviations” such as this. On-campus leftists ought to be comforted, in other words, by their own side’s ability to self-police the commons. But they won’t because the objective is not to “win” the campus wars. They’ve already done that. The objective is to make the other side feel pain.

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