Indoctrination In University
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The latest university indoctrination scandal comes to us from the University of Delaware:

FIRE - University of Delaware Requires Students to Undergo Ideological Reeducation

October 30, 2007

FIRE Press Release

NEWARK, Del., October 30, 2007—The University of Delaware subjects students in its residence halls to a shocking program of ideological reeducation that is referred to in the university's own materials as a "treatment" for students' incorrect attitudes and beliefs. The Orwellian program requires the approximately 7,000 students in Delaware's residence halls to adopt highly specific university-approved views on issues ranging from politics to race, sexuality, sociology, moral philosophy, and environmentalism. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) is calling for the total dismantling of the program, which is a flagrant violation of students' rights to freedom of conscience and freedom from compelled speech.

We've covered this a lot ourselves on—see Brainwashing In Academe: The Resident Assistant's Tale, by Athena Kerry and Brainwashing Backfires In Academe by Kevin Carter.

Some of this goes back to the 1950s. This is from a novel by Randall Jarrell, set at "Benton College" and based on his experiences at Sarah Lawrence:

Their education was, for a good many of the girls, what they themselves would have called a traumatic experience. Two of the psychologists of the school talked of education not simply as therapy but as shock therapy: "The first thing I do with a freshman," one of them said to Dr. Rosenbaum, " to shake her out of her ignorant complacency." Dr. Rosenbaum knew one of her freshmen, a cheerful scatterbrained girl who was neither cheerful nor scatterbrained about her; this girl said viciously, "All she does is pry. She thinks I'm a bourgeois prejudice and she wants me to get rid of myself."

Pictures From An Institution,. By Randall Jarrell, 1954

Those are the people who resist indoctrination—for the girls who succumbed, it was not good either. Jarrell wrote:

"If Benton had had an administration building with pillars it could have carved over the pillars: Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you feel guilty. Just as ordinary animal awareness has been replaced in man by consciousness, so consciousness had been replaced, in most of the teachers of Benton, by social consciousness. They were successful in teaching most of their students to say in contrition, It was I, Lord, it was I; but they were not so successful in teaching them to consider this consciousness of guilt a summum bonum, one's final claim upon existence. Many a Benton girl went back to her nice home, married her rich husband, and carried a fox in her bosom for the rest of her life—and short of becoming a social worker, founding a Neo-Socialist party, and then killing herself and leaving her insurance to the United Nations, I do not know how she could have got rid of it.

Which is amusing, but of course, it's not funny for those going through it:

Orwell did not know that as he wrote, Mao's China was subjecting university students to "thought reform," known also as "re-education," that was not complete until children had denounced the lives and political morals of their parents and emerged as "progressive" in a manner satisfactory to their trainers. In the diversity education film Skin Deep, a favorite in academic "sensitivity training," a white student in his third day of a "facilitated" retreat on race, with his name on the screen and his college and hometown identified, confesses his family's inertial Southern racism and, catching his breath, says to the group (and to the thousands of students who will see this film on their own campuses), "It's a tough choice, choosing what's right and choosing your family."Reason Magazine - Thought Reform 101

The comparison with Communist efforts at reeducation is apt—George Borjas went through the same thing in Castro's Cuba before he escaped:

Why am I super-sensitive to this? Because as a young boy I myself went through a one-year course in ideological reorientation. I attended an elite elementary Catholic school in Havana. Castro took over, the Catholic school was shut down, and I got transferred to a revolutionary school where the entire day was spent teaching Marxist-Leninist ideology. Luckily, this lasted only a year and I continued my education in Miami (where the entire school day was instead spent talking about the upcoming football game). I am certain that the blind zealotry that I saw in the young teacher's eyes that year turned me off from that particular way of viewing the world for the rest of my life. One can only hope that many of the students forced to attend the re-education programs at Delaware and other universities react in the same way.The Borjas Blog: Indoctrination At College

One can only hope, indeed. But some of the kids in the Cuban reeducation class may have gone on to be part of the Cuban secret police, and some of today's reeducated teens will go on to be enforcers in the federal bureaucracy.

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