by Walter Smith
“Lifetime learning” sounds pretty innocuous, right? Maybe even charitable and aspirational?
To be fair, the University of Virginia lifetime-learning program does offer some courses that provide an opportunity to learn something. The two offerings by Professor Ragosta on Patrick Henry look interesting.
But there is a difference between “learning” and “indoctrination. And the “Governor’s Summit on Equitable Collaboration,” hosted by UVa’s lifetime learning program, is shaping up to be an embarrassment for an institution of higher learning whose purported goals are to be “good and great.”
The toolkit for “transforming community spaces” sounds more like the manual for a Red Guard reeducation camp than a lifetime learning experience.
The event, endorsed by Governor Ralph Northam, has been prepared in conjunction with the UVA Institute for Engagement & Negotiation, a program of the Architecture School. That program’s mission reads as follows: “Catalyze and facilitate the shared creation of equitable solutions for organizations, communities, and leaders through research, collaboration and training.” The event has been endorsed by Governor Ralph Northam.
I don’t see how this mission aids in the instruction of architecture, but it seems every school at UVA must engage in “woke” virtue signaling.
The Summit, in which UVa President Jim Ryan will participate, will introduce the “six principles for equitable collaboration.” The third line of the very first page of that document links to this page, which describes “white supremacy culture.” I invite you to click on all the links on this website and ask, “Is this really the basis for a UVA-endorsed workshop?”
To my mind, the premises behind the Summit are embarrassing and racist, and the event is being organized so a lot of people can proclaim their moral superiority.
Participants will “learn” how to stop being “othered” by othering “white people,” including white people who identify as allies because they must constantly be on guard to check their privilege.
Then there is this gem on the first page of the “collaboration” document: “The goal here is neither to diminish movements pushing for local and national change, nor to police the spectrum of tactics that movements for systemic change may adopt.”
Sounds like a wink and a nod to engage in “mostly peaceful” protests.
The next slide has this statement: “Equitable collaboration is a framework that rejects the notion of ‘neutral’ processes.”
Here’s what that means: Because systemic racism is built into everything due to white-supremacy culture, all institutions must tilt the table to have a fair hearing or outcome. Knowing this, the organizer of the woke struggle session must set all interactions with the goal in mind so that the process employed will arrive at the “correct” result.
I can believe that Ralph Northam, after his self-cuckoldization on all matters racial, has endorsed this embarrassing work product. But Jim Ryan? He supposedly had an impressive legal career. Certainly he knows of the non-discrimination laws and equal protection and due process. One would also think that he would trust in free speech and not approve of gaming the system to favor one side.
The whole woke movement of social justice is a logical fallacy. You cannot erase racism by engaging in racism. You cannot mandate equality of all results. People have different abilities. Some people exploit their abilities to the fullest, some fritter them away. Even under a police state (which social media seems to wish to be), somebody has to be the police. But, if you really desire equal everything, then every student must get a “C” and every athletic team must be composed of the proper sex and color and sexual orientation mix and play to a .500 winning percentage. All pay must be equal. No one may have a nicer car.
Since this is untenable, and the very people advocating for it don’t wish it for themselves, the only “equitable” way is to have fair and neutral processes. Just like a basketball game. Why was it so important for the NCAA to review the De’Andre Hunter tipping of the ball off of Davide Moretti’s hand in the final? Why was the call accepted? The ref crew followed a neutral process and it was transparent. If that matters in a sporting event, why not for real life?
UVa desperately needs to get out of the virtue-signaling business and back into education. Virtue-signaling without virtue is a great disservice to the students – saddling them with college debt, an inability to engage in critical reasoning and discourse, and a false sense of academic and moral superiority.