Peter Fricke, Campus Reform, March 24, 2016
Still reeling from last year’s student protests, the University of Missouri took action this week on two more diversity demands, hiring a chief diversity officer and requiring students to complete diversity-themed courses.
The College of Arts and Science at Mizzou announced Wednesday that undergraduates will now have to complete three credit-hours of “diversity intensive” (DI) courses in order to graduate, saying the courses will focus on “understanding differing social groups” and “will explore at least one form of social inequality, broadly defined.”
Similar curricular changes had been periodically debated since a 1990 rally at which students demanded mandatory “multicultural” classes, but the idea was repeatedly tabled until this week, when it was approved with 75 percent of a faculty vote.
Although the College is careful to note that the new requirements were not devised in response to the 2015 campus unrest, the press release strongly suggests that the protests were a major factor in their approval, observing that “the events of the fall of 2015 forcefully demonstrated that the concerns students first raised in 1990 have not disappeared.”
The revised A&S curriculum is not the only form of mandatory diversity training at Mizzou, however. Starting this semester, all incoming students must participate in a “[email protected]” workshop intended to help them understand and appreciate cultural and racial diversity.
The various diversity initiatives being pursued at Mizzou will be overseen by Kevin McDonald, who was appointed Wednesday to serve as the university’s first Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer. McDonald, who previously served in a similar role at the Rochester Institution of Technology, will receive a starting salary of $235,000 to fill the position created in response to the demands of student protesters.