The Neglected Few: An Editorial

The Etownian February 2, 2012 4
The Neglected Few: An Editorial

APOLOGIES

During the past week, we have learned quite a bit about the definition of and the actions behind being a publication of integrity and how we failed these standards in relation to “The Neglected Few: An Editorial,” which appeared in the Feb. 2 issue of the Etownian.

Although we do not retract our statements regarding the topic of the Diversity Plan within the editorial, we are very sorry for the harsh statements used toward political science professor Dr. Paul Gottfried in the opening paragraphs. There were alternative phrases that we could have substituted for the unfortunate word choice used to describe Gottfried’s ideas pertaining to multiculturalism in the classroom.

It is in this unintended comparison to people with much more radical views about diversity than Gottfried that we are humbled. We do not think, as our poor phrasing may have suggested, Gottfried believes we should treat people of other ethnicities differently in the classroom.


NOTE: This article has been altered from its original printed state at the request of one of its subjects.


We’re not ready for diversity. Elizabethtown College’s “push” for a melting pot community is and has been nothing more than a flimsy attempt to catch up with more prominent institutions’ multicultural recruiting efforts, only to send these unsuspecting students into an environment they’re not ready for, and one that is certainly not ready for them.

In 1999, President Theodore Long proposed that the College institute a formal plan to increase diversity on campus. At that time our African, Latino, Asian and Native American (ALANA) student population sat just below six percent. Twelve years and three diversity plans later, Etown students still reported less engagement with diversity than their peers at other institutions, according to the National Survey for Student Engagement. As students regularly demonstrate their desire to have diversity on campus through programs like the recent MLK Day activities, the question needs to be asked: what is the administration doing wrong?

1. The College needs to develop an ACTUAL plan.

In “Embracing Inclusive Excellence: A Five-Year Plan for Strengthening Campus Diversity,” the College does a great job assessing the shortcomings of diversity at Etown. It even has a seven-page list of goals to be accomplished over the five years. But nowhere in this list does it expound on how these goals will be reached, further disintegrating the importance of diversity to just a fun idea.

2. Realize that ALANA is all about diversity, but diversity is not all about ALANA.

The new Momentum program is a fantastic step in the right direction toward gaining more diversity on campus, especially from ALANA and lower socioeconomic groups. However, the lack of support from administration for other underrepresented groups, including students with disabilities, international students and non-heterosexual students, is alarming.

Of the respondents to a 2008 campus-wide survey, a startling 37.5 percent of students said they have concealed their sexual orientation to avoid intimidation. In that same survey, 54.5 percent of respondents claim the campus has not supplied them with adequate support as a gay, lesbian or bisexual person.

Similar alarming responses were brought up by students with a disability. 31.3 percent of students claimed that they have been refused accommodations for their disability by a professor, and 40 percent claim the College has not supplied them with adequate support. We see the same lack of support for international students on campus, as the College has no English as a Second Language (ESL) service for them to utilize when they arrive. The result? Frustrated student tutors, writing consultants and often professors who do not have any specific training or support to help the international students overcome the boundaries of the language.

3. Diversity must be a primary factor in hiring practices.

Even though our region has a racial and ethnic diversity of around 11 percent non-white, only 5.7 percent of 230 faculty and staff responses to a similar 2008 survey identify as anything other than Caucasian. We must make a concerted effort to increase the overall diversity of our faculty and staff around campus, so that current students recognize diversity’s role in academia and not just student life.

2012 needs to be the year the College develops a real plan, fully-backed by the administration, faculty, staff and students that outlines the true importance of diversity. We need a plan of objectives, guidelines for how we will reach them, and how the school’s population as a whole will adjust to accommodate all the underrepresented groups with the tools they truly need to succeed. Until we do this, the administration will continue to fail in its insubstantial attempts at true diversity, as it has over the past twelve years.

Read Dr. Carl Strikwerda's Response

4 Comments »

  1. W W McDonald February 4, 2012 at 8:17 am - Reply

    Contrary to the false allegations of the American Defamation League and The Etownian (2/2) editorial, the H.L Mencken Club abjures and deplores racism in all its manifestations as contrary to genuine libertarian and conservative principles. This group prides itself as a forum for the thoughtful and honest discussion of some of the most sensitive issues of our age. The racist label is hurled at this group by those who prefer to silence their critics rather than to consider the merits of their arguments.

    As a friend of Paul Gottfried who is as familiar with his work as anyone, I know he never wrote that Elizabethtown College was not “ready for diversity.” Such an opinion would imply that at some level that he would consider “diversity” in its present manifestation as a worthy goal for the College. His argument rather is that “diversity” as its proponents use the term is the polar opposite from what such eminent social thinkers as Aristotle, Edmund Burke or Russell Kirk meant when they praised the “proliferating variety of society.” “Diversity” too often is used as a weapon by determined special interest groups in a political debate to silence their opponents as “racists.” The real end of the “diversity” advocates is to dis-empower anyone who has the temerity to disagree with them. The irony is is that “diversity” has become a political instrument to extinguish real intellectual diversity.

    Even more tellingly, on the same opinion page on which this ugly accusation against Dr. Gottfried was made, there are two further examples of the “diversity” mindset of work. How can one explain that in President Strikwarda’s lengthy defense of the diversity plan he fails to note that an eminent, internationally renowned, retired professor had been gratuitously insulted by the same editor who attacked his beloved diversity plan? Such an oversight speaks volumes.

    Moreover, in a letter to the editor, we see an example of what at first glance seems to be almost a caricature of the diversity mind-set. In this case, I have admit that I can commiserate with the author, because like him I too have suffered the pain of stares. You can’t imagine the looks I have to endure as a registered Republican when someone mutters, “Oh, there is that REPUBLICAN.” “Oh, how awful,” someone else chimes in, “I thought we had dealt with that SORT a long time ago.” Also, my wife suffers too because she is a Canadian alien. She says things like “ot” and “abot” and she ends her sentences with “hey.” People laugh and ask embarrassing questions like, “Are you Canadian?” It makes her feel so different. Then, there are all the Canuck jokes and all the bad jokes she has to endure from her insensitive husband about her country being the only nation in the world that has a weed emblazoned on its national flag. He use to make bad jokes too about her national health care system, but he gave that up about two years ago.

    W. Wesley McDonald

    Professor

    Department of Political Science

    Elizabethtown College Elizabethtown, PA 17022

    • dvickrey2010 February 8, 2012 at 9:04 am - Reply

      @W W McDonald I urge the students of Elizabethtown College to check out the Webzine “Alternative Right”, where Professor Gottfried is listed as an editor. There you will find articles such as “Recruiting, Genetics, and the White Athlete” . In fact, the entire site is devoted to Eugenics and the “Decline of the West” due to the mixing of the races.

      This is the kind of enterprise your “internationally renowned” retired professor lends his name to.

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  2. dvickrey2010 February 8, 2012 at 9:08 am - Reply

    By all accounts the HL Mencken Club conference was comprised of lectures on the evils of immigration, the inferior IQ of African Americans, and the glories of Apartheid South Africa.

    How is this not racist, Professor McDonald?

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