March 5, 2009
Grothman Calls on Regents to Firmly
Scrutinize UW System's Work on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
(Madison) Senator Glenn Grothman (R-West Bend) called upon the Board of Regents to use today's meeting to scrutinize their Plan 2008: Educational Quality Through Racial and Ethnic Diversity. It is apparent from the 2008 final report prepared by Damon Williams that the University's diversity program is badly in need of some adult supervision.
Specifically, I would like to implore some brave Regent to ask the following questions:
- The Report brags about having €œover 100 diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives€ on the Madison campus alone. Even if diversity is good for its own sake doesn't this imply waste, duplication of services, and a climate promoting excessive focus on one's ancestry as opposed to the individual's own traits, opinions and accomplishments?
- You define diversity based on a person's €œcolor.€ You've implied white people should learn to work with people of color. In the past, you have even implied prospective employers have been reluctant to hire Wisconsin graduates because they don't know how to work with people of color. Since not all campuses or at least departments have significant representatives of all groups, it may be helpful for the chief diversity officer to provide short written answers to be distributed to all students on the following questions:
- What should a well-rounded graduate know about working with an African American?
- What should a well-rounded graduate know about working with an Hispanic American?
- What should a well-rounded graduate person know about working with an Asian American?
- What should a well-rounded graduate know about working with a Native American?
- Is it the current policy of the University to classify students as €œminorities€ if they are1/2 or 1/4 or 1/8 €œminority?€ Does this make sense?
- Something called the First Wave Learning Community is focusing on the €œspoken word and hip-hop culture.€ The report implies these students live together, further implying some isolation from the rest of the campus. How does such a program bring students into the mainstream of American economic life?
- All €œminority€ parents that I know want their children to consider themselves as just normal people. They also want them to be considered just normal people by society. Are you afraid that by having over one hundred diversity-centered programs on the Madison campus that you are undermining these parents' goals?
- It appears on Page 12 of the report that you are actively trying to avoid hiring white men when possible. Is this legal? Is this ethical? Does the University hate white men?
€œAs a child, I was taught to view people as individuals. Clearly there is a strong element at the University that views people primarily as representatives of ethnic groups. They presumably want people to view themselves as minorities as well. Have you ever had an internal discussion as to whether this is good for society as a whole? I have met parents who you would call minorities who are frustrated by society's desire to pigeon-hole their children. Are these parents right, or are you right?,€ questioned Grothman. €œI would particularly enjoy getting responses from your expert to Question #2.€