Your Values are Wrong, but Reformation is Here!: Social Justice Training on a College Campus

Social-Justice

In an article recently passed on to me by a friend, I read about a new “student development model” that was implemented at the University of Delaware. The model was said to be a “student centered- values education model” aimed at social justice education and implemented by Resident Assistants through the department of residence life. My take on it is that having been reviewed by the American College Personnel Association’s Commission for Social Justice Educators, leads me to believe that good intentions were at the forefront of the program although some of the details on its utilization and results are alarming. With that being stated, let me expound on my thoughts. First of all, I would hope that the there are specific learning outcomes grounded in theory which form the basis of the program. Secondly, I would hope that the needs assessment or some other crucial assessment/instrument has bee utilized in order to ascertain the issue that the program seeks to resolve. Is there truly a need for this model? To this extent? etc. Thirdly, I would hope that both the trainers (most likely community directors/coordinators or other professionals) are well versed enough to properly train, advise, and supervise the Resident Assistants (RAs). Next, I would hope that the RAs have undergone extensive and continuous training, including experiential learning, student development theory, identity theory (for themselves), as well as counseling skills, etc. in order to truly help and not hinder the development of the students in the residence halls.

What comes across alarming to me are the definitions used for training, use of labels such as “treatments” for the program, and the mere idea of putting something so heavy on RAs. Although by definition in many regards they serve as peer educators and peer advisors, they are also seen as peer role models to students. This brings about many potential issues and not to mention a vast amount of cognitive dissonance from many students already undergoing transitions and issues that are faced with the acclimation to college academics and college life. Additionally, the tactics said to be used in order to gain participation from students and/or “treat” them for their lack of participation and willingness to disclose information are also alarming. Educated, trained, and experienced professionals in student affairs and counseling would be best suited for any programs/models of this nature. Indeed for me, at first read, this is particularly disturbing. However, more information is needed for my true understanding of the matter at hand and I plan to further investigate. To read the article, follow this link :¬†http://thefire.org/article/9865.html or visit the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education website and search for the article “Please Report to your Resident Assistant to Discuss your Sexual Identity–It’s Mandatory!: Thought Reform at the University of Delaware.”

2 thoughts on “Your Values are Wrong, but Reformation is Here!: Social Justice Training on a College Campus

  1. The only thing that separates the ResLife program from Chairman Mao’s Little Red Book program is the mile long rows of turnips to hoe. A real “rehab” program gives you a LOT of information to absorb, so that you can make your own decisions. Being spoon-fed the answers without the questions is just brainwashing. Damn skippy, it should be illegal. Very illegal.

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