Public Colleges Push DEI In Freshman Orientation Over Free Speech: Report

Only 30% of schools surveyed mention free speech.
A protestor wears a piece of fabric with the pronouns 'they/them' pinned to them as Minneasotans hold a rally to raise awareness of the increasing number of attacks on transgender children, at the Capitol in the St Paul area of Minnesota, Texas, 6th March 2022. (Photo by: Michael Siluk/UCG/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
Michael Siluk/UCG/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Public colleges across the country push diversity, equity, and inclusion on freshmen during orientation while deemphasizing free speech, a new report shows.

Out of 51 public universities, 91% of the freshman orientation materials discussed diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), according to a report by Speech First, a free speech advocacy group.

Less than a third of the materials mentioned free speech or viewpoint diversity, the report shows. About 39% mentioned viewpoint diversity, and even fewer schools, 32%, mention free speech.

Meanwhile, the actual amount of DEI content overwhelmingly outpaced the amount of free speech and viewpoint diversity content. For example, the schools had seven times more DEI-themed video material than on free speech or viewpoint diversity, according to the report.

Speech First obtained the freshman orientation materials through Freedom of Information Act requests.

“The results were not that surprising, but they should be shocking to the general public,” Speech First Executive Director Cherise Trump told Fox News.

“This is a serious concern because there’s clearly a huge lopsidedness to how much universities are emphasizing DEI, anti-racism, and putting that on the forefront and creating that insecurity in student’s minds,” she said.

Among the DEI materials, 27% mentioned bias, 22% mentioned DEI training, 20% mentioned discrimination, 11% mentioned racial equity, 9% mentioned antiracism, another 9% mentioned microaggressions, and 2% mentioned trigger warnings.

Several schools had particularly “alarming” examples, the report said.

Northern Kentucky University encouraged students to attend a drag show and went into detail about microaggressions.

“If you have not been to a drag show yet we are going to make sure you have that opportunity,” says the school’s orientation video titled “Creating an Inclusive Community.”

“We have all participated in microaggressions … ‘Where are you from?’ is a microaggression. ‘I don’t see race’ means you don’t recognize someone’s identity. ‘I am not racist because I have black friends, or I am not homophobic because I have gay friends’ does not exempt you from continuing to intentionally better yourself and work on your microaggressions,” the same video says.

At the State University of New York (SUNY) at New Paltz, students are required to take an implicit bias test.

The “Implicit Association Test” makes students match faces of different skin colors with negative and positive words, objects, and weapons. Another test makes students match negative and positive words with different gender identities.

“The even scarier fact is that this is hosted on a Harvard University website and when you dig deeper into the organization behind the creation of these tests, you find that they have facilitators at universities across the country— so it is safe to say that our research is only scratching the surface regarding materials like this,” Speech First said in the group’s report.

The University of California at Irvine encourages their freshmen students to take the same implicit bias test, but it is not required, the report says.

“Like never before, it is clear that our public universities do not provide incoming students with a foundation of respect for free speech, open discourse, and civic education. Instead, they focus exhaustingly on issues regarding race, sexual orientation, gender identity, and guilting incoming students into a culture of political correctness,” Speech First said.

In recent years, students at many colleges have made a habit of policing speech on campus, both others and even their own.

Last year, one study found that more than 80% of college students in the U.S. actually self-censor their own opinions at their schools.

About two thirds say they think it is acceptable to shout down a speaker on campus, and nearly a fourth of college students say it is acceptable to use violence to halt certain speech, according to the study from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), College Pulse, and RealClearEducation.

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