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Demographic Characteristics

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Kerby Andersonnever miss viewpoints

At a university where Mike Adams is a professor, the Faculty Senate Steering Committee passed a resolution condemning faculty members for public comments on the demographic characteristics of students. They did so because of a free speech controversy that involved professor Mike Adams.

In a recent column, Mike Adams used the resolution to raise a larger issue that I think universities need to seriously consider. If this university wants to stop publicly referring to the demographic makeup of the student body, then shouldn’t they also stop giving them scholarships and scholastic awards based on demographics? Why not start giving scholarships and awards based on merit rather than on identity politics.

Mike Adams puts it this way. “Saying that Joe Blow won an award for being ‘an outstanding student’ rather than being an ‘outstanding black student’ is both parsimonious and free of condescension. We truly need to stop treating minorities like they are only fit to compete in the Special Olympics.”

He also raises legitimate questions about all the special offices and centers on campus that cater to one ethnic group or one sexual orientation. Blacks, Hispanics, women, homosexuals, etc. all get a special place and are essentially segregated from the rest of the university community.

He also suggests that: “if we really want to end the war on racism, sexism, and homophobia then we should just stop asking people questions about their demographics in hiring and admissions process.” Think about this. On the one hand, universities claims that they don’t discriminate on the basis of race, sex, and other factors. On the other hand, they ask about it on forms and when they award scholarships.

You can’t say you don’t discriminate on the basis of demographics, when you actually do discriminate based on those demographic factors.

Viewpoints by Kerby Anderson

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