by Ellen Schutt

At the University of Wisconsin-Madison diversity and inclusion have been the hot topics lately. With hate and bias incident reports sky rocketing over the past two years, many are looking for solutions to the problems. UW-Madison has created a new program called Our Wisconsin, a pilot program to get people talking about the campus climate. During fall of 2016 they held their first session where students were invited to come and talk about what had been happening on campus regarding many highly reported incidents.

Our Wisconsin is the new all student inclusion program whose mission is to provide UW-Madison students with an understanding about culture, identity, and difference, as well as the skills and commitment to create a community that is inclusive for all people. The group’s vision is to have a campus community where all students are welcomed, valued, and supported as they live the Wisconsin experience.

This upcoming fall, Our Wisconsin will be incorporated into Student Orientation, Advising and Registration, which is freshmen orientation at the UW. They are also hoping to extend the program to Greek life, as well as student athletes and the school band members. This program seems to be a hit with its creators and people interested in the campus climate environment because of its focus on diversity, inclusion, and education of students.

The organizers fail to mention that the expansion of Our Wisconsin will cost an extra $240,000 to implement with new staff hiring’s and facilitators of the program receiving pay. At a time when the UW School System is asking for more money from the state for operational funding, they are spending more money on training students how to act around peers from different backgrounds. I thought that was just called common sense decency? I guess they don’t teach that at home anymore.

We have seen a movement across the U.S. to use tax dollars to fund liberal diversity programs. For example, The University of Michigan-Ann Arbor is investing $85 million in a diversity program that will be rolled out over the next five years to promote diversity and inclusion on campus all the while it is raising tuition for its students. Virginia Tech is also expanding its diversity and inclusion program to foster inclusive environments on campus.  The University of Texas at Austin’s Diversity Education Initiatives (DEI) promotes learning that fosters a climate of inclusiveness. DEI provides diversity education through consultation and educational programs on campus and in the community. The California State University at Long Beach diversity program aims to provide leadership and direction to achieve a positive, continuing, and vigorous campus nondiscrimination ad equal opportunity program. We can see this epidemic of funding diversity programs at state funded universities across the nation.

Wisconsin is trying to follow in the footsteps of other universities that are clearly overstepping their boundaries. UW-Madison can’t expect to receive more money from the state every year when they spend it on programs that promote a certain viewpoint in life.  It is clear that this program is not educational as the university would like everyone to believe, but actually the indoctrination of the students to a leftist agenda.

All the while UW has lost its top five research title in the country, dropped from the top 10 best Universities in the World and seen a decline in admissions. We have seen this trend occur at other universities that promote diversity over education as well. Maybe the university should focus on its educational status rather than promoting its PC culture to incoming freshmen and belittling those who disagree with their liberal ideology. It’s a shame that they focus so much attention on micro-aggressions and feelings and forget about academic success in education. Universities should be spaces full of diverse intellectual thought and ideas.

Ellen Schutt, a 2017 CBLPI Fellow, is a student at University of Wisconsin-Madison