PJ Media

Should schools pick applicants based on their adherence to "social justice"?

I received an alumni newsletter from the University of Tennessee and read up on some of the changes going on in the Psychology Department. One segment that caught my eye stated “New emphasis on social justice training.” a href=”http://psychology.utk.edu/gradstudy/counseling/spa_model.shtml”The website is here. /abr /br /”Oh lord,” I thought, as I read about the “buzz” in the faculty discussions and the agreement among each member that “we should add a new component to our training model.” It seems that this new training model will be a two-semester course sequence of “social justice practica” which will teach students to conduct social justice research, and to gain skills in consultation, program development, and intervening at a systemic level to bring about social change. br /br /The most troubling part of this little exercise was yet to come, however. It seems the psychology program has received double the number of applications for the doctoral program in Counseling in 2008 as they received in 2007 and the newsletter went on to mention that the doctoral students in 2008 were selected, in part, span style=”font-weight:bold;”for their interest in developing social justice advocacy skills /span [emphasis mine].br /br /My guess is that social justice is just another buzzword for adherence to liberal and left-leaning dogma. How many people will they turn away due to their politics? No one will ever really know. br /br /I wonder what would happen if clinical and counseling doctoral programs across the country announced that applicants would be chosen for their “interest in liberty and free market ideas?” Should these programs really be choosing candidates based on their politics, because ultimately, that’s what they are doing. As much as the a href=”http://psychology.utk.edu/gradstudy/counseling/index.shtml”Counseling psych website/a advocates that they are proud of the “diversity of their student body,” I wonder how much diversity of political thought they allow?