Diversity and Exclusion
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After “liberal arts” the term now most often found in campus mission statements and other public relations materials is “diversity.” Often coupled with diversity is the word “inclusion.” Surely, this is benign. Who could object to pictures of a campus with lots of smiling faces belonging to people with differently toned skin colors? Besides, almost everyone agrees that exposing students to people with different lifestyles and points of view will prepare them for the wider world beyond ivy-covered walls. Indeed, “diversity” and “inclusion” are rhetorical devices so axiomatic that institutions are rarely called upon to define them or to state clearly when and how they are applicable in the various decisions academics must make.
Some inclusion principles are easy to affirm. No students, staff, or faculty should be excluded from campus activities simply because of their identities, though their behaviors or ideas should not be off-limits to critical comments. Conversely, no persons should...