As parting shots go, it packed quite a punch. But then it had been coming for some time.
In an open letter announcing his resignation from Portland State University in Oregon, assistant philosophy professor Peter Boghossian condemned his former employer as a ‘social justice factory, whose only inputs were race, gender and victimhood and whose only outputs were grievance and division’.
What had once been a bastion of free inquiry was gripped by ‘a culture of offence where students are too afraid to speak openly and honestly’.
His broadside echoed right across the United States.
ENDURING divisions: 90 years on, Western Washington University’s Black housing programme ad
SEPARATED: Black and white guests are segregated for a barbecue on an Alabama plantation
Like countless others, Prof Boghossian says he has been driven out of the job he loves by a growing army of diversity tsars, or ‘diversicrats’, and an $8 billion equalities industry which is fast establishing itself in Britain, too.
Today, most US universities have entire departments headed by members of the equality ‘police’. It recently emerged, for example, that Michigan University has a total of 82 ‘diversity officers’ with a combined annual salary of more than £7.5 million.
Top speakers like Dr Bernice King, daughter of Civil Rights campaigner Dr Martin Luther King, or Robin DiAngelo, author of the bestseller White Fragility, can charge up to £20,000 per campus speech.
One professor told The Mail on Sunday that one of the most prestigious universities in Los Angeles now forces professors to undergo compulsory two-hour ‘diversity training’ sessions each week, overseen by a consultancy that charges a reported £250,000 a year.
Never mind that one conclusion of the drive for justice is the very thing America fears most: the return of segregation and the growing racial divisions that implies.
Last week, Western Washington University announced ‘black only’ housing as part of its diversity and inclusion programme.
Boasting about designating an entire floor of the Alma Clark Glass Hall as reserved for ‘Black Affinity Housing’, the university’s website proudly proclaimed the move ‘will explore and celebrate the diversity of Black and African American people and culture’.
It has been dubbed ‘the crazy end game’ of wokeism. ‘The irony is that these rules have been brought in by well-meaning liberals after the horror of George Floyd [the Minneapolis man killed by a white policeman] but the end game is segregation, however you look at it,’ said the university whistle-blower.
Black and white students are now being encouraged to study separately and attend graduation ceremonies based on colour or gender.
Columbia University in New York held separate ceremonies for Latin, Black, Native American and Asian students, as well as a ‘Lavender’ graduation for LGBTQ students.
Two white male students studying in a ‘multicultural’ centre at Arizona State University were last month heckled by black students who claimed ‘being white is not a culture’ and kicked them out.
The professor, who asked not to be named ‘because speaking about things like this will get you instantly cancelled’, told the MoS: ‘Every university and college now has ‘diversity tsars’. There are departments dealing with this stuff. You can’t say anything for fear of being cancelled by the diversicrats.
‘It’s like living in Mao’s China. We’re at the point where it’s interfering with what we’re supposed to be doing, which is to broaden students’ minds.
‘Historically, university campuses were places for open and frank discussion, where honest debate could be had. But not any more. Everyone is now terrified of the diversity police. A whole industry has sprung up and it’s very lucrative for those profiting from it, but the question is, does any of this actually help the students?’
With salaries for a ‘Diversity Dean’ averaging £200,000 a year and support staff earning between £50,000 to £125,000, critics have argued the money would be better spent supporting minority students with scholarships.
Alabama Governor Wallace attempting to block integration at the University of Alabama, standing defiantly at a door
‘For decades now, certainly the two decades I’ve been teaching, when faculty jobs come up there’s always the discussion about whether the job should go to a person of colour, a woman, or someone from the LGBTQ community.
‘Speaking as a white man it’s become increasingly hard in California to hire other white men. Affirmative action has shaped American higher education as we know it and it’s been going on since the late 1960s.’
It is easy to imagine that this is just an American problem. It’s true that the US has deep and enduring problems when it comes to race and social justice. Yet on Friday it was reported that new students at St Andrews in Scotland – where Kate and William met – has introduced compulsory modules on subjects including sustainability, diversity and consent.
Students will, for example, be pressured to acknowledge that ‘personal guilt is a useful start point in overcoming unconscious bias’.
The University of Kent has told its students to take a four-hour course covering such topics as white privilege, micro-aggressions and pronouns.
This includes the strange suggestion that to feel comfortable using swearwords or wearing second-hand clothes could somehow be indicative of ‘white privilege’. Still, there is some way to go before Britain reaches the depth of aggression experienced by Prof Boghossian, whose 1,600-word resignation letter claims he had swastikas daubed on his office door, accompanied by bags of excrement. He was spat upon and threatened, he says. He went through the misery of an official inquiry after he was falsely accused of perpetrating domestic violence.
True, Prof Boghossian is both white and sufficiently brave, or reckless, to have made his case in public when most prefer to remain silent (and keep their jobs). He provoked the ire of social justice warriors when he co-authored a series of deliberately absurd academic papers and persuaded respectable publications to accept them.
A journal of feminist geography published Prof Boghossian’s thesis on ‘human reactions to rape culture and queer performativity’ based on the behaviour of dogs.
It concluded that men, like dogs, should be put on leads.
Another, published in a journal of feminist social work, was titled Our Struggle Is My Struggle and presented extracts from Mein Kampf glued together with modish academic jargon. From Chicago to San Francisco, 50-page ‘diversity handbooks’ are handed out to popularise such words as Latinx (to replace Latina or Latino) and ‘adultism’ (prejudiced thoughts against younger people in favour of older).
Another source said pressure on colleges to hire diversity tutors has led to ‘puerile’ scenes during mandatory diversity training sessions for academics.
Bus Station with Sign ‘Colored Waiting Room’, Durham, North Carolina
‘There seems to be no qualification for these posts except skin colour,’ he said, recounting one lecture which began with a so-called ‘privilege walk’. ‘It was: ‘Step forward if you are a white male, take a step back if your ancestors were forced to come here from Africa or worked in the fields.’ Then: ‘Take a step forward if your parents are college graduates, step back if you grew up in the projects [housing estates].’ ‘
A retired university administrator said: ‘All this might have started with the best of intentions, but sober minds can’t help but think the students are the ones who will suffer from this nonsense. How on earth have we found ourselves, in 2021, with racially segregated dorms?
‘The irony is a lot of these policies were brought in by Left-wing intellectuals desperate to do the right thing. Their hearts were in the right place. But it’s gone so far now that you have this ridiculous situation where black and white students are being forced apart.
‘Campuses are becoming increasingly divided into sub-sets. You have the LGBTQ groups, the Mexicans, Native American Indians, Women of Colour, Lesbian Women of Colour, gender-fluid groups, BIPOC… I can go on forever. There are so many different groups.’
According to The Wall Street Journal, higher education in the US now stands for ‘mob rule, civil ignorance and contempt for truth and free enquiry’. It concluded that: ‘America’s universities were once the leading edge of an advanced culture, reinforcing and expanding the country’s best features. They steered differences of opinion away from rancour and toward well-regulated, informed debate. They welcome eccentric opinions, expanded the boundaries of thought… and prepared students for citizenship.
Segregation Sign at Greyhound Bus Terminal on Trip from Louisville, Kentucky, to Memphis, Tennessee
‘None of that persists today. Far from being the leading edge of an advanced culture, the universities drag America back toward a more primitive state. They have contempt for the restraints and rules that define society, such as political neutrality in non-political institutions. For radicals, politics takes precedence over everything.’
A mother of a 19-year-old student at an East Coast university said the college regularly hosts ‘White Fragility’ nights, which leave the campus ‘in a constant state of hysteria about systemic racism’.
She added: ‘My daughter has to sit there and listen to how white people are the root of all evil.
‘I sent her to university to broaden her education, to prepare her for the outside world. Instead she’s being fed a diatribe about how all white people are evil.
‘If universities want to effect meaningful social change we don’t need them spending tens of thousands on diversity training departments. ‘They are no substitution for meaningful human interaction.
‘If we push our kids into ever-smaller, racially divided groups, how is that going to help them?’