Stanford Students: Offering Western Civilization Classes Destroys Diversity

“Hey, hey, ho, ho, the mere option of studying Western culture’s got to go.”

Those aren’t the words but the spirit of what a group of Stanford students is saying to classmates who are “elitist” and “racist” enough to want to study Western history.

In February the editors of the Stanford Review, an independent campus publication, published a manifesto embracing Western values and announcing a petition to put Western civilization back into the core curriculum. Stanford abolished that course in 1988, a year after Jesse Jackson marched students around campus chanting against the topic. Currently Stanford offers the class to a tiny fraction of its 7,000 students. The only Western civilization survey course is carefully locked away inside the “Structured Liberal Education” (SLE) program, where a cohort of 90 students opt to study the liberal arts.

Those who signed the pro-Western civilization petition met a barrage of unflattering (sometimes unprintable) epithets and warnings that signatories would be blacklisted and shunned from future campus leadership. One suspected—suspected, mind you—supporter was stripped from helming a support network for low-income students. Evidently his co-leaders concluded there are no good reasons a low-income student might want to study the history of the society whose economic ladder he is trying to climb.

To the surprise of the progressive left, plenty of Stanford students actually do want to read the great works of Western culture. The petition attracted 370 signatures, more than enough to earn a spot on the student ballot. The student elections commissioner tried to muscle the petition off the ballot but failed. Then a new group of anti-Western civ activists took up a new tactic: eliminate or radically revise SLE, the one place Western civilization is currently taught.