PJ Media

Hamilton College Caught Lying About 'Heartfelt Student Demand' for New 'Diversity' Requirement

If you were to read this Inside Higher Ed story about a new diversity requirement at Hamilton College, you would think that the new course was a result of professors responding in a deliberative manner to overwhelming demand by students.

That simply was not what happened.

Consider the article’s opening:

Like many campuses, Hamilton College in New York has over the past two years faced criticism from student protesters that it isn’t doing enough to honor its commitment to inclusion. Unlike many such campuses, Hamilton adopted a new curriculum requirement that all concentrations, or majors, feature relevant, mandatory course work on diversity.

Starting in the 2017/2018 academic year, students must complete an entire course within their concentration (for example, math professors must teach a “math diversity” course) that would — to quote the guidelines — educate them about:

… structural and institutional hierarchies based on one or more of the social categories of race, class, gender, ethnicity, nationality, religion, sexuality, age, and abilities/disabilities.

One of the key players behind the new requirement — immediate former dean of the faculty, Patrick Reynolds — is quoted, calling it:

 … an innovative approach to engaging with contemporary issues of inclusion and diversity.

He also praises the initiative’s potential:

[It could] resonate with the academic interests of each of our students [and] prepare them better to apply the expertise of their major in their post-Hamilton careers and lives.

The article ends with a similarly upbeat reference to another key player, literature professor Nancy Rabinowitz. She cites the flexibility of the requirement (“individual departments can decide what their students need to know”), and claims:

[I]t helps students understand how their chosen course of study fits with the society, indeed world, that they inhabit.

The article must please the public relations team at Hamilton, as well as “diversity” cheerleaders across the country. However, in writing it, reporter Colleen Flaherty ignored evidence presented in my article on Hamilton, “The Ugly Truth Behind a College’s ‘Diversity’ Requirement,” published at the Pope Center for Higher Education Policy. She also ignored what dissenting Hamilton Professor Robert Paquette had told her in a detailed email.

Flaherty does quote me in the Inside Higher Ed article, but presents me in a manner making it appear that I only see the diversity initiative as a left-wing plot. My evidence detailing Hamilton’s dishonesty was entirely omitted.

Reynolds and Rabinowitz are two of the key players in my article. With evidence from interdepartmental emails, my article revealed that the diversity requirement was sold on the basis of a false narrative of “student demand” spun by radical Hamilton professors. I described how radical professors with access to thousands of dollars manipulated students and orchestrated the entire diversity initiative.

In my article, I wrote that asking students to “‘critically engag[e] with multiple cultural traditions and perspectives, and with interpersonal situations that enhance understanding of different identities,’ and to develop ‘an awareness of the challenges and responsibilities of local, national and global citizenship’” would not help Hamilton students master academic disciplines. At the least, the requirement would prove a distraction for them.

Flaherty only quoted the May 16 email by Patrick Reynolds, in which he claimed that the initiative was “a response to student interest that was strongly expressed two or three years ago.” She ignored my refutation of the “student interest” and similar statements.

Instead, she reported this:

[F]ollowing a year of occasional on-campus protests from student supporters of Black Lives Matter, Hamilton administrators received a list of demands from the Movement, an anonymous group of student protesters.

She claimed the students “requested” dozens of things in the aim of achieving higher diversity.

In reality? Protests were encouraged by activist faculty members, and law-breaking students. Reynolds ultimately paid homage to only the “protests” from the students.

No these students did not make “requests” of the College.  On one occasion, student activists commandeered the Burke Library: “One of the group’s leaders screamed from the stairs about white privilege.” On another occasion, students shut down the public road running through the campus with a “die-in.” Police were called to the scene.

These were demands by mobs. Mobs led and encouraged by radical professors.

One can easily find online the damning pictures of at least one of these protests, as the pictures were featured in the Utica Observer-Dispatch. A video of a protest in the Burke Library, recorded by an employee, was taken from him and secreted away by Hamilton College officials.

One of the professors/mob leaders was Nancy Rabinowitz.

Rabinowitz had once gained notoriety when she was demoted from her position as head of the Kirkland Project as a result of her role in the Ward Churchill affair. But Rabinowitz still is given access to tens of thousands of dollars through Hamilton College’s Days-Massolo Center, allied organizations, and the dean of the faculty’s office.

She uses that money to truck in pricey “rent-a-radicals.”

Last fall, she used these funds to promote Planned Parenthood with “performance artist” Rhodessa Jones, as I described in a series of articles. At those events, I heard Rabinowitz encouraging students to attend a talk by a founder of Black Lives Matter, as did Jones herself.

The diversity requirement itself was not borne of student “requests,” but was orchestrated by one of Rabinowitz’s cronies who was recruited to help make it happen. Dr. Margo Okazawa-Rey shepherded the requirement through while serving as one-year chair of Women’s Studies.

A member of the faculty of the School of Leadership Studies at Fielding Graduate University in Santa Barbara, Okazawa-Rey describes her “primary areas of research and activism” as “gender, militarism, and feminist activist research.”

This was a return visit for Okazawa-Rey. In a 2003 talk at Hamilton she pilloried President Bush, claiming:

The biggest terrorists are the ones who are calling for a war on terrorism.

A May 5, 2015, email from the Committee on Academic Policy (the email included Rabinowitz) and the Faculty Working Group announced that Okazawa-Rey would “facilitate” the effort the following year.

The email repeated the lie: the project “grew out of our students’ heartfelt request to implement a diversity-intensive requirement.”

As I pointed out in my article, an April 2016 email by Okazawa-Rey to the “Hamilton community” celebrated the training eight Hamilton students had received at the Highlander Center in Tennessee — a social justice leadership training school.” These students were then ostensibly “qualified” to train other Hamilton students. Of course, Okazawa-Rey sits on Highlander’s board of directors.

The Center offers programs and Justice Fund Fellows focusing on racial, economic, and environmental “justice,” such as Black Lives Matter, reproductive rights, and “immigrant rights.”

None of this is mentioned in the Inside Higher Ed article.

Instead, Flaherty introduced my quotation by repeating the falsehoods about student demand and by citing overwhelming faculty support (the diversity initiative passed 80 to 19). She quoted me quoting the wording of the new guidelines:

Supposedly, this “intellectual project” involving “faculty across the disciplines” would provide solutions by encouraging “students to study and understand the exclusion, stratification, inequalities and violence in its many manifestations on our campus and in the wider world” …

That language is standard leftist rhetoric used by faculty activists to indict American colleges and other institutions for falling short of the progressive utopia.

My quote made her article. My evidence was ignored.

Professor Robert Paquette received similar treatment. He was presented as having unreasonable concerns with his raising questions about the definition of “diversity,” and on whether a course on conservative thought would be included.

Flaherty had all the information she needed from Paquette to properly represent his position. After she had contacted him prior to writing her article, Paquette had sent Flaherty a lengthy email outlining those concerns, as well as his concerns about the “allocation of resources and the political direction of the college.”

She had his substantial points of rebuttal, but chose not to include them.

Nor did she include the two scientists whose names and contact information Paquette had included in his email. He had explained that they had serious and legitimate concerns.

What happened at Hamilton College was an example of a well-coordinated campaign to impose diversity requirements via a web of dishonesty.

Dissenters are silenced in many ways. One of them is through a dishonest press.

This coming year, radical professors will be building their fiefdoms as bewildered students, no matter their major, find themselves faced with the onerous task of passing a course in “diverse” everything.

Those students will be taught nothing of the silenced dissenters and the dishonest campaign.