The woke diversicrats at the University of Massachusetts Boston have issued drafts of a new “mission statement” and “vision statement” for the campus (because why just limit yourself to a mission statement when you can have a vision statement too). They are as follows:
Mission statement draft:
As an academic community of global and local citizens, we are committed to becoming an anti-racist and health-promoting institution that honors and uplifts the cultural wealth of our students. We intend to engage reciprocally in equitable practices and partnerships with the communities we serve. We support various and diverse forms of knowledge production that enrich the lives of all communities, especially those historically undervalued and underserved. We are a public urban university dedicated to teaching, learning, and research rooted in equity, environmental sustainability, social and racial justice, innovation, and expansive notions of excellence.
Vision statement draft:
We aspire to become an anti-racist and health-promoting public research institution where:
Diversity, equity, shared governance, and expansive notions of excellence are core institutional values.
Wellness and an ethic of care are embedded throughout our campus culture and all policies and practices.
We invest in a resource-rich learning environment to support the development and success of students of plural identities and from diverse socio-economic, racial, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds.
Climate, environmental, and racial justice align with sustainable economic and planning decisions with local and global effects.
Community engaged scholarship, service, and reciprocity are embedded in University practices that promote the economic, social, and cultural well-being of the communities we serve
We hold ourselves and each other accountable to ensure these values drive all decision-making in research, pedagogical innovations, resource allocation, and the development of policies and practices.
Pretty standard college campus fare these days. Except for once a portion of the faculty, based chiefly in the sciences, is fighting back. An “Open Letter” against these draft statements is circulating. Worth reading the whole thing, but here are the relevant highlights:
We are faculty of the College of Science and Mathematics, and we are writing to you to express our extensive concerns about the first public draft of the Mission Statement and Vision Statement that was recently presented to the faculty. . .
We believe this document is deeply flawed in content, direction, and representation. Moreover, we believe that the absence of significant changes to this draft would bring serious damage to the College of Science and Mathematics, to the reputation of UMass Boston as a beacon of knowledge and education, and to the demographically and ideologically diverse group of students we serve – particularly those who see education as a means to rise socio-economically. . .
Under no circumstances can political or ideological activism be the primary purpose of a public university. . . It is important to emphasize that the fundamental role of the public university can neither be political nor ideological activism. In part, this is due to the illegality of compelled speech in public institutions and our legally binding commitment to academic freedom as outlined in the so-called “red book” on academic personnel policy. Additionally, ideological activism cannot be a central goal of the university because at times it will conflict with education and research. The search for truth can never be subjugated to social or ideological beliefs. [Emphasis in original.]
The UMass science faculty is not content to let the matter rest with these general statements of principle. They go on to pose several interrogatories:
We raise these points about the purpose of the public university because we believe the current drafts of the mission and vision statements radically depart from these fundamental tenets, and instead promote a chilling environment for the pursuit of truth. This is most evident in the Vision Statement which discusses diversity, equity, expansive notions of excellence, wellness, an ethic of care, plural identities, climate justice, environmental justice, and racial justice, and then states that “We hold ourselves and each other accountable to ensure these values drive all decision-making in research, pedagogical innovations, resource allocation, and the development of policies and practices.” That is, these values – which have very distinct ideological interpretations – must drive the direction of every researcher and department on campus, and as a community of scholars we will hold people accountable when their research does not actively promote these values.
If your research on quantum computing is not perceived as promoting climate, environmental, or racial justice – will you be held accountable and your resources re-allocated?
If your department makes the data-informed decision to support the use of standardized tests as a measurement of student learning or preparation, but the campus views this as being opposed to wellness, an ethic of care, equity, or an expansive notion of excellence, will your department be held accountable and its resources re-allocated?
Another point, no less important, is that although UMass Boston is a research university, the word research is only mentioned briefly towards the end of the draft of the Mission Statement. Such diminutive support for knowledge creation seems to strongly indicate its reduced value on this campus.
Chaser—a brand new book offering from Duke University Press:
Some good news perhaps:
Employers Rethink Need for College Degrees in Tight Labor Market
The tight labor market is prompting more employers to eliminate one of the biggest requirements for many higher-paying jobs: the need for a college degree.
Companies such as Alphabet Inc.’s Google, Delta Air Lines Inc. and International Business Machines Corp. have reduced educational requirements for certain positions and shifted hiring to focus more on skills and experience. Maryland this year cut college-degree requirements for many state jobs—leading to a surge in hiring—and incoming Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro campaigned on a similar initiative.