by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Students need to feel a sense of belonging. In fact, we all do, but for elementary and secondary school students especially, a feeling of belonging to a group with whom they spend the majority of their waking hours can mean the difference between academic success or failure. That’s why students who are bullied or ostracized tend to do worse academically than their peers.
But how about at the collegiate level? Should fostering a sense of belonging really be a priority for college administrators, or does it lean too far toward coddling young adults who at this point should be more independent?
That depends. There’s no question community is important, but it’s been distorted on today’s college campuses to mean something it isn’t. Instead of encouraging young adults to invest in groups and relationships that will challenge them and help them grow, so-called education experts and administrators have created campus cultures in which groupthink reigns supreme. Students must accept the prescribed leftist values or risk being accused of intolerance and bigotry.
Hanover Research’s Dr. Amy Kurfist admitted that creating a sense of personal attachment and “belonging” to this woke campus culture is the next frontier in the diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives that have taken over campuses across America. According to Kurfist, “it is imperative for colleges and universities to shift more focus to inclusion and belonging, even as they continue other DEI efforts.”Imperative? The college years used to be a time for young adults to hone their critical thinking skills as they prepared to take their plac
es in the real world, where very few will care about their “sense of belonging.” The focus on the social constructs of DEI on college campuses does students no favors and leaves them woefully ill-equipped for life after academia. Rather than empowering students, DEI weakens them, which is, in fact, its unspoken goal.