One of the current fads among academic leftists is “whiteness” – studying the alleged problems that come from white Americans not acknowledging and compensating for their manifold privileges in society. That has served as the justification for all kinds of conferences and seminars and courses at our colleges and universities.
It seems fitting that the state which hosted perhaps the ugliest riots following Trump’s election, Oregon, now is pushing a retreat for faculty members at Oregon State where those who “identify as white” can examine their “internalized dominance.”
This retreat has been organized by the university’s Counseling and Psychological Services department (CAPS). CAPS is supposed to help students who find themselves in serious psychological trouble get through it.
While it is perfectly appropriate for large universities to have such departments, their mission shouldn’t have any ideological angle. Unfortunately, the people running CAPS at OSU are loyal to the leftist worldview and have expanded their scope considerably.
CAPS doesn’t just counsel needy students now. It offers the pure relaxation of its Mind Spa (including full-body massage chairs and guided meditation sessions) free to all students, faculty members, and staff. It also runs some nice-sounding but questionably effective programs like “Beyond Happy Faces Curriculum Training.”
That sort of folderol needlessly expands the university’s budget but probably doesn’t do much harm.
CAPS also has created a special support group for people who find it “too overwhelming” to think about the impact of climate change. That’s getting quite a bit further afield from providing psychological assistance to troubled students.
Last year, however, CAPS took a giant step into progressive ideology, holding a retreat for faculty members who want to:
Examine white identity and institutional racism.
Reflect and share experiences of our cycle of socialization.
Identify ways dominance shows up and how to dismantle oppressive systems.
Build a community of aspiring social justice allies.
This year, CAPS is again sponsoring the retreat. Posters were placed around the Oregon State campus on April 3, encouraging faculty members to sign up for a day and a half of “reflection and corrective action” on May 5th and 6th to do so. Oddly enough, the retreat is not mentioned on its website, but you can read the poster in this release from the Oregon Association of Scholars (OAS).
Professor Bruce Gilley, president of the OAS, decried this retreat and its psychotherapy sessions as “racist and offensive,” adding “They will do nothing to enhance respect and honest pluralism at Oregon State and exacerbate the effects of the deeply divisive ‘equity and inclusion’ policies pursued at that institution.”
This retreat is not an appropriate use of university resources. The only “white identity” faculty members who will show up are dedicated progressives who want to wallow in guilt and network with other “social justice” allies. If Oregon State’s leftists want to get together to discuss shared interests, they should pay for a conference room at a local hotel.
The bigger point here is the way progressives turn everything into politics and activism. A campus office that was set up to counsel psychologically troubled students has morphed into a large, multi-tasking business that promotes leftist causes as much as possible. A properly run university would not put up with that.