by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Shannon Watkins of the Martin Center explores diversity training at one of the state’s largest public universities.
North Carolina State University students need to be taught about how to be “inclusive,” according to the school’s chancellor and top administrators.
Last June, NC State Chancellor Randy Woodson released a statement decrying individual and systemic racism and revealed the university’s plan to roll out mandatory diversity, equity, and inclusion training for students, faculty, and staff:
“As one first step, in the coming academic year, we will require every student, faculty and staff member to complete diversity and inclusion learning modules. This will include every member of Cabinet as well as all of the deans, directors and department heads of the university.”
On February 2, NC State undergraduate students received an email from the university with the subject line: “You have been registered for Required Training – Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Training for Undergraduate Students.”
In the email, the university notified students: “You are required to complete training for the following reason: NC State is committed to the learning and professional development of its faculty, staff, and students to create and sustain a diverse and inclusive community.”
Students were told that they must take the training with “100% completion” by April 1 in order to receive credit for taking the online course. The course is hosted by Everfi, a private training company with which the university entered into a $114,000 three-year contract. The training consists of a combination of instructional video clips, informational pop-ups, and scenarios that attempt to mirror student interactions on campus.
Toward the beginning of the training, students are told during a video clip that “there are a wide range of viewpoints” on the topics of race, equity, and inclusion, and that the goal of the training “isn’t to tell you what to think; but to invite you to reflect on your own values, experiences, and your ability to help create an inclusive community.”
That statement couldn’t be further from the truth.