VIDEO: Watch the Debate on DEI Policies in Higher Education at MIT
A very important discussion.
Thursday, April 6, 2023 at 10:00am 3 Comments
We wrote about this last week. Now you can watch it if you please. I have not yet watched the whole thing, as it’s over two hours, but we wanted to make it available for you.
Take a look below:
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The pro-DIE team had a few sensible things to say. But I found some of it impossible to follow. What was amazing was that they said DIE as currently administered is BROKEN.
The anti-DIE team could have blown away any opposition. But both sides kept it fairly calm.
It’s actually less than 2 hours because it starts after a long period of elevator music. These are my impressions, first about the “for” side, then “against”.
I liked Pat’s consistency. His idea at the beginning that now we’re only caring about the oppression members of certain selected groups
Heather McDonald sounds like she would ultimately be OK with money reparations to blacks. (Not with my money! Maybe with hers. So tired of her white guilt.) She wants to make sure that students aren’t admitted to programs where they cannot meet the standards.
When I went to MIT, as a freshman they had just raised their target for female admission from 20% to 25% — in either case with affirmative action but now at a greater level — at the end of freshman year a bunch of women flunked out, that looked like about 5% of the class. The additional 5% of women seemed to have flunked out.
But now they don’t, even with 50% forced admission of females. And coincidentally, the level of instruction available has been made more “generous”. Now there’s a poet’s version of Calculus that meets the General Institute Requirements, and 3 levels of Real Analysis, of which the hardest is the one they offered when I was there. The requirements for a Physics degree are much lower now, eliminating much that peer schools like Cornell still require. So DEI did “dumb down” the MIT undergrad experience to some extent. The old classes are maintained, but now there’s more “diversity” of classes, and that makes things more complicated and expensive and diffuses the old cultures that used to mean “MIT” and made it special.
The idea that we should force people to care with DEI is forced speech, and also attempted brainwashing. Everyone has the right to be indifferent. Kill DEI, don’t try to reform it. Put the “Inversity” person, who says diversity interventions should never end, out of business and make her find a real job. We don’t need her company to “teach us” human interaction and caring.
The “negative” side was totally divergent. The one with Inversity thinks DEI should be interpreted very broadly (so she can have lots of business). The other one thinks it’s hijacked by all those other groups and it should be all about people just like her, black descendants of slaves. The only thing they agree on is that DEI “corrections” should go on forever. We should end DEI until they can agree on one story, rather than submitting to both!
Denise’s demand for “ensuring achievement” for people who are achieving way above what their former African captors have now is asking for too much. If she wants to have talent pipelines in the black community, fine. I would not presume to engineer their community. But accumulated disadvantage didn’t stop the lower and lower middle class who immigrated here from Asia and Europe from rising rapidly, in far less than 150 years. Her idea of the “talent pipeline” sounds like a subtle rehash of the communist WEB DuBois’ “talented tenth”, for whom all of society will have to give way, even if they aren’t as good at their areas as others.
But she does have a good suggestion at the end. Work with a “coach” to write your DEI statements. It’s important and you want your statement to tick the boxes convincingly.
The different levels of courses reminds me of BU’s College of Basic Studies, better known as “Coloring Book School,” designed to get admittees with dubious grades up to speed. I don’t think anyone ever moved to, say, the College of Arts and Sciences.
So how is a potential employer supposed to know what kind of MIT graduate they are getting? It’s like the old joke, “first in your class, last in your class, they still call you ‘doctor.'”
This will only lower the standards for a standard bearer.