Excerpt from Models of Diversity: Pursuing Tolerance in Colleges and Universities:
Judging from the campus incidents of the early ’90s, it seems almost as if college administrators expected that a certain laissez-faire tolerance came packaged with the students’ college admission documents. Instead, as the 11 institutions highlighted here have demonstrated, long-buried grievances emerged to demand redress; curricula limitations attracted attention; students challenged their peers over perceived inequities. Most institutions learned the hard way that the academic environment itself was insufficient to mitigate the problems of intolerance and prejudice that plague the rest of society.
“….In this sense the diversity activities accomplished by the 11 institutions constitute an exercise in pessimism; that humans, however brilliant and gifted, will not act in an appropriate or sensitive manner toward others of different races and cultures unless they are involved in a learning process. No one would claim campus education will undo complex patterns of behavior and belief, but on the evidence of the 11 schools, tensions were defused, dialogues initiated, and the process of mutual understanding begun.
“….Diversity activities may constitute a circuitous route to compensating for the loss of affirmative action tools. We have previously noted some small evidence from the 11 institutions that contributing to minorities’ campus success levels in areas like status, creativity and comfort can ultimately improve retention and graduation rates.”
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