8.4.09

DOES A BEER AT THE VFW POST COUNT? Virginia Tech asks professors to profess their loyalty to the so-called constructivist view of social organization in their promotion and tenure dossiers. The Torch reports that the university's governing board will review their policies.

Over the past three years, Virginia Tech's provost, Mark McNamee, has increasingly demanded ideological conformity in the form of "diversity accomplishments" from the school's faculty. Last year, in a memo to all department heads and promotion and tenure committees, he insisted that candidates for promotion or tenure "do a better job of participating in and documenting their involvement in diversity initiatives," noting that such participation is "especially important for candidates seeking promotion to full professor."

Last week, Virginia Tech's College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences (CLAHS) concluded voting on new rules for faculty merit raises, promotion, and tenure that would require faculty to demonstrate fealty to a highly politicized definition of diversity in their research, teaching, and personal enrichment activities. The results of the vote have not been made public.

CLAHS defines "diversity" as "the desirability and value of many kinds of individual differences while at the same time acknowledging and respecting that socially constructed differences based on certain characteristics exist within systems of power that create and sustain inequality, hierarchy, and privilege." The list of "diverse" characteristics ranges from race and gender to "body size and condition." Accordingly, CLAHS has pledged "to eliminate these forms of inequality, hierarchy, and privilege in our programs and practices."

Apparently "body condition" includes Gross Stupidity, and the self-referential nature of the hierarchy requiring adherence to that definition of diversity in order to sustain the privilege of being in the company of scholars at Virginia Tech and the system of power that enforces the loyalty oath would be funny, if it weren't so loopy.

Ich schwore diese heilige Eid.

The Chronicle of Higher Education identifies some of the metrics the administration is using.
“Participation in diversity awareness workshops on campus or off, attending harassment prevention training from EO Office, participation in CEUT reading group on multicultural/diversity topics, attending diversity-related programs to learn more about groups other than your own (Diversity Summit, identity group celebrations, Campus Climate Checkup, MLK events, special speakers, annual AdvanceVT and Scholarship of Diversity conferences, events hosted by Cranwell Center or Disability Services, special programs in your discipline or association, etc.); participating in an Undoing Racism workshop; learning another language (including American sign language) so that you might speak to current or prospective students, parents, or community members.”
A lot of this looks like making work for the Diversity Boondoggle, in order that all the individuals who have been hired to run the workshops can report that they are working, and thus making productive use of the money that might be spent instead on office supplies or more tenure lines for enrollment-impacted departments.

I'm willing to bet a four-pack of Sprecher Mai Bock that "attending the VFW's Memorial Day barbecue" doesn't qualify as learning about Vietnam era veterans or as an identity group celebration. (Should somebody at Virginia Tech tell me otherwise, that person is welcome to claim the four-pack, f.o.b. DeKalb, Illinois. Or to attend the VFW barbecue.)

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