The Board of Visitors of the University of Virginia has mandated that all students will be required to take “a new online course on multiculturalism.” University spokeswoman Carol Wood said “the class will be required of all UVa students one day,” but it will begin with undergraduates, probably in Spring 2004.
This is one of several attempts to improve the University’s “racial climate” after the reported (but still unconfirmed) racially motivated attack last February on Daisy Lundy, then a candidate for student council president. (Her opponent withdrew, and she now is student council president. See earlier discussion here, here, here, here, and here.)
This “course” and other guilt-induced responses sound so pathetic that it is hard to imagine them contributing to anything except ridicule.
The university has allocated $100,000 in its $895.1 million academic budget, expected to be passed today by the board, for such a class, which will be interactive as well as online. Although the course has not yet been developed, Wood said it would take only a limited amount of a student’s time. An undergraduate likely would sign onto a computer at his convenience and read materials about diversity. The budget also provides $120,000 for repairs to the Office of African-American Affairs, which has been housed for many years in what was considered a temporary building. Other money will be used to add extra sections of an existing class on multiculturalism.
The black dean will get new, or at least improved, digs; a few more graduate assistants will be hired to teach sections of a “multiculturalism” course; and students will be required to read some no doubt inspiring materials online at their convenience.
Hurrah for “diversity.”