Featured, Fort Collins, Free Speech, Larimer County, Sherrie Peif

CSU to mandate ‘diversity’ training as core curriculum requirement

FORT COLLINS — Colorado State University (CSU) is set to become the first public Division I university in the state to mandate diversity training as a condition of graduation.

According to a document outlining the new All University Core Curriculum on the school’s website, effective fall of 2022, students will be required to take three credits in a course that addresses “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion” and aligns with one of the following guaranteed transfer pathways: Arts & Expression, Literature & Humanities, Ways of Thinking, Economic or Political Systems, Geography, or Human Behavior, Culture or Social Frameworks.

At least 50 percent of the final grade must be based on student engagement in “dialogue.”

CSU did not return multiple requests for comment from Complete Colorado inquiring as to why the university chose this direction, whether it impacts current students or those entering the school under the 2022 catalog, or if students can opt out based on opposition to what some may call political indoctrination. According to the school’s website, the cost of the class to an in-state student would be $1,605.

The document states thatin order to meet the criteria for graduation, the diversity coursework must through dialogue:

  • Explore diverse perspectives.
  • Recognize and explore various cultural identities, heritages, and important similarities and differences as depicted in the arts, or reflected in geography, or in economic or political systems.
  • Explore interactions among groups and identities as relevant to the discipline.

Further, to meet student learning outcomes students should be able to:

  • Develop skills of intergroup dialogue.
    • Develop skills of active listening.
    • Identify the difference between dialogue and its processes and debate or discussion.
    • Demonstrate the ability to engage in deliberative dialogue.
  • Employ dialogue skills to explore multiple perspectives.
  • Address Diversity:
    • Make connections between the world-views, power structures, and experiences of individuals, groups, communities, or cultures, in historical or contemporary contexts.

Complete Colorado reached out to the University of Northern Colorado (UNC) and the University of Colorado (CU) to see if either of Colorado’s other two public Division I schools were planning similar changes. As of now, neither school is currently in that process.

UNC Director of New and Public Relations, Deanna Herbert, said UNC is not considering requiring a diversity class; however, it is looking at an alternative option that would add a certificate program in diversity to the school’s offerings. That type of certificate would assist in executive leadership careers such as the recently announced Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Office for the City of Fort Collins.

Fifth Congressional District CU Regent Representative Chance Hill said he and others are keeping a close eye on developments at CU. They have already inquired with CU leaders to find out what kind of classes along this line are required or not as well as what kind of trainings are required or not.

Hill said depending on what answers he receives will determine his next steps for CU, but he is concerned not only with classes, but with other things that may appear to be voluntary but are generally accepted as obligatory, such as whether it becomes part of the freshman orientation sessions.

This isn’t the first time CSU has based school policy or curriculum on specific ideology. In 2019, the school released an “inclusive language guide,” that the school called a “resource to help our campus community reflect our Principles of Community particularly inclusion, respect, and social justice.”

Campus officials said it was not intended to be “about political-correctness or policing grammar, but rather helping communicators practice inclusive language and helping everyone on our campus feel welcomed, respected, and valued.”

The draft version of the guide included the words “America” and “American,” saying: “Americas encompass a lot more than the United States. Yet, when we talk about ‘Americans’ in the United States, we’re usually just referring to people from the United States. This erases other cultures and depicts the United States as the dominant American country.”

It recommended “U.S. citizen” or “person from the U.S.” instead, although uproar across the state as well as from alumni, staff and students made sure that entry was not in the final product.

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