The University of Delaware (UD) Faculty Senate’s Student Life Committee has rejected a proposal from the Office of Residence Life to run a new residential program in the Delaware dorms next year. Reports from inside UD suggest that Residence Life (ResLife) officials are entirely unrepentant, believing that their only mistake (now admitted, it seems) was making elements of the old program mandatory. But as we have discussed in detail (using UD’s own documents), the programming also was coercive, invaded students’ privacy, ridiculed and pressured students with “incorrect” views, violated students’ freedom of conscience and freedom of speech, and was intended as a “treatment” for students’ incorrect thoughts, values, attitudes, and beliefs.
The rejected proposal, dated January 29, shows that the ResLife directors cannot be trusted to administer any residence life program at the University of Delaware. The proposal maintains the intrusive one-on-one sessions with resident assistants (RAs). It still aims to affect students’ “thoughts, values, beliefs, and actions.” It still includes the inculcation of specific views about what ResLife believes counts as “citizenship” and “sustainability” in a “global society.” It still pressures students to take specific actions in areas such as environmentalism and students’ “consumption patterns.” It still enforces a singular view of “the campus culture and community.” It still enforces “community expectations” by intervening in students’ lives to “develop a mutually agreed-upon statement of community standards.”
For instance, for December 2008 ResLife proposed a program called “Retail ‘Therapy,’” which would guide students regarding “sustainability issues related to retail stores.” In February, ResLife wanted to teach the “reparations debate” and seek extra credit in their regular coursework for students who attended. Students would be given a “personal tracking inventory” to understand and then change their “consumption patterns.” They would be given a “Discovery Wheel” self-evaluation tool, which includes leading questions about diversity. In March, each complex would “adopt a continent…and present information about … issues faced by women” in that area.
Students at the University of Delaware are adults who should be treated like adults, not like patients in need of treatment, nor like deficient individuals who need identity counseling. ResLife still doesn’t get it. It looks like the faculty is finally stepping in to save UD students from their ResLife oppressors. The next step is to remove the oppressors.