Over the course of the last few years, Americans have watched with interest and dismay as a growing number of their higher education institutions have descended into censorship and intolerance. From “safe spaces” to “trigger warnings” to “micro-aggressions,” our universities appear to be striving to become the least tolerant of our institutions.
Not so at Princeton University.
There, the majority of the editorial board of the student newspaper, The Daily Princetonian, just penned a staff op ed whose title conveys its conclusion: “Rejecting a Politicized Curriculum.” In the piece, the board slams the school’s recommendation to require students to take at least one course that focuses on “the intersections of culture, identity, and power.”
The Princetonian board argues that the proposed new curriculum “cannot be structured in an academically rigorous way that avoids the danger of ideological partisanship.” Unlike Princeton’s distribution requirements, which focus on important “substantive fields of inquiry and methodological approaches”—without defining “course content”—the proposed “identity and power” courses are “necessarily . . . based on content.” The proposal therefore constitutes an “inappropriate attempt by the University to compel students to study certain material.”
Moreover, the proposed requirement assumes without argument that “differences in identity [race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation] undergird structural inequalities.” But this assumption is not academic or intellectual, but “ideological.” Therefore, the university’s proposed requirement amounts to its officially “mandating highly politicized content as a requirement for an undergraduate education.”
Editorial: Rejecting a politicized curriculum [Read Here]