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Some universities across America require faculty compliance in the form of signed Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) statements as conditions of tenure or promotion—arguing that DEI across college campuses is a top priority.
However, there may be growing backlash in some areas from faculty as well as from parents – who argue that the DEI agenda actually challenges the diversity of views and opinions of students within the university environment.
Some say it also fosters a culture of fear and intimidation.
In the city of Seattle, for example, about 40 percent of University of Washington faculty recently rejected — or abstained from voting on — a measure that would have required faculty members seeking promotion to submit a statement demonstrating their support for THEY.
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“The fact that [the vote] was stopped is unprecedented,” Cliff Mass, a professor of atmospheric sciences at the university and an advocate for viewpoint diversity, told Fox News Digital in a telephone interview.
Fox News Digital reached out to the University of Washington for comment.
Victor Balta, senior director of media relations at the school, said: “My understanding is that the legislation failed despite receiving over 63 ‘yes’ votes among those cast, which was a 26-point margin over the ‘no’ votes .”
Balta noted that faculty code requires that “Class A legislation obtain a two-thirds supermajority vote in cases where fewer than 50 percent of the faculty actually cast a vote.”
Students who hold even moderate views are often afraid to express themselves on campus today, a professor says.
“Display diversity is part of diversity, equality and inclusion, and we don’t believe they are in conflict,” he also told Fox News Digital.
“Our campuses should be and are places for thoughtful and rigorous exchanges of ideas.”
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“Valuing diversity, equity and inclusion introduces more perspectives to these discussions, not fewer,” added Balta.
But for the fair and others who say they want true diversity of thought restored to the college campus environment, the failed measure appears to be a victory.
“A policy point of view is being pushed very hard by the administration and by a number of others,” said Mass, who is also a meteorologist.
For him, he added, “diversity declarations” are very similar to “the anti-communist loyalty oaths of the late 1940s and early 1050s.”
Students who hold even moderate views are often afraid to express themselves, he said.
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“Requiring all faculty members to support a social/political agenda favored by a segment of society not only politicizes the university but represents ‘coercive speech,'” he recently noted in a blog post .
It is “a violation of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution at a public university,” he added.
That blog post has received more than 70,000 page views since early July 2022.
DEI proponents are said to focus not on equal opportunity but on the ideology of equal outcomes or equality.
Fox News Digital reached out to two other colleges that appear to support DEI initiatives, according to their websites.
“I suspect most parents don’t understand what’s going on here.”
Masse spoke about the DEI agenda for many of them.
“They believe the university should be biased in its admissions and resources to ensure equal outcomes for all groups, with special attention to a small number of favored ‘underrepresented’ groups,” Mass told Fox News Digital.
“I suspect most parents don’t understand what’s going on here,” he said. “Parents that we serve are from all over the state. There’s a wide range of political views from people who send their kids here.”
“Then there are people from outside. We have many foreign students,” he added. “They come here to get a good education.”
Mass said he believes parents have a big role to play in curbing the DEI agenda on campus.
“There’s a lot parents can do,” Mass said, noting that parents can decide not to contribute to their child’s college.
“There are a lot of tools to pressure the university — and if they did, it would have an impact,” Mass predicted.
DEI advocates ‘abuse of our trusted word’, says one mother
Rebecca Friedrichs, a California-based mother of two grown sons, told Fox News Digital that parents may be “unaware of the devastating nature of DEI.”
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She said that “DEI supporters (and their allies) use linguistic gymnastics to change the very meaning of words, to manipulate the masses into believing propaganda.”
“DEI is dangerous … and many parents don’t discover this destructive agenda until it’s too late.”
“We collectively understand the word ‘diversity’ to include respectful debate about differing opinions, open and honest discussion, respect for others even when we disagree.”
“So when the university advertises that it’s ‘diverse,’ we think, ‘That’s positive,'” noted Friedrichs, who co-founded Kids and Country, a national movement of parents, teachers and citizens.
DEI advocates “misusing our trusted word,” according to Friedrichs.
“Their definition of ‘diversity’ is twisted and is the exact opposite of our understanding,” she said. “Their ‘diversity’ only accepts their group-think opinions, their stifling of true debate, their silencing of diverse ideas, and their tyrannical control over all content.”
“DEI is dangerous,” she said, voicing her opinion — “and many parents don’t discover this destructive agenda until it’s too late.”
Friedrichs called on parents to boycott universities that promote the DEI agenda to “stop the madness.”
“Vacations are a good alternative for many students,” she said, in contrast to the four-year college degree — “and can lead to a lot of satisfaction and high wages without the burden of school debt and indoctrination.”
Talk to your kids before they go to college
Dr. Mary K. Alvord, principal of Rockville, Maryland-based Alvord, Baker & Associates, LLC — and a psychologist specializing in the treatment of children, adolescents and adults — told Fox News Digital that there are ways parents can help their college students on understanding “the bigger picture”.
It’s important for parents to start talking to their kids early, Alvord said, before they go to college, about their values and how to express themselves.
“The reality is that we are a diverse world,” Alvord said.
“But beyond that, we have different views and people get upset about what is ‘politically correct’ or ‘politically incorrect’.”
She said college students are at a place in their lives where they are fine-tuning their own personal and family values. They should also “be open to different ideas and hopefully find some places” where they can express themselves and even “disagree with [issues]Alvord said.
“Look for … professional trainers and stick with them.”
Another tool for parents, according to Friedrichs, includes reviewing students’ syllabi, which are public documents.
Friedrichs pointed out, “There are often good teachers trapped in politically driven universities – so look for the professional teachers and stick with them.”
Remind the youth to be thoughtful
If teens or young adults find themselves in the middle of a political discussion or disagreement, Alvord recommends that parents find “balance” when dealing with the issue at hand.
Additionally, parents should remind their children that whatever opinions they post online these days are likely to stay online. “Nothing goes away,” Alvord said.
Moms and dads, too, can wisely advise their children: “You don’t want to get into a heated debate. You can just say, ‘I respectfully disagree, and I disagree because of A, B, and C,’ without naming names .”
“Don’t think you’ll be able to assert yourself at that moment. You need to know the context.”
Alvord also noted that parents can tell their children the following: “The reality is if you’re in a crowd and they’re protesting something and you disagree — don’t think you’re going to be able to assert yourself in that moment You must know the context.”
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As for Friedrichs — she’s urging moms and dads to push back to the ballot box this fall.
“Any politician supported by the so-called teacher unions will pressure DEI, so don’t vote for them and educate your friends too,” urged Friedrichs, author of “Standing Up to Goliath: Battling State and National Teacher Unions for Our the heart and soul of children and the country.”
Parents and politics: ‘Don’t lecture’
If a child begins to lean in a political direction that differs from his or her parent, Alvord advised pausing the lecture.
“Don’t get angry. Don’t explode,” she said. “You have to stay calm and you have to engage in a conversation.”
“Because if you start saying, ‘It’s ridiculous, it’s terrible, it’s stupid,’ then what happens is that they might just become more entrenched to prove their point.”
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Alvord instead suggested parents ask questions and start discussions.
Then ask what your child’s opinions are after these discussions.
“Because they’re still young,” she said.