“After a group of UC Davis women faculty began circulating a petition, UC regents rescinded an invitation to Larry Summers, the controversial former president of Harvard University, to speak at a board dinner Wednesday night in Sacramento. Summers gained notoriety for saying that innate differences between men and women could be a reason for under-representation of women in science, math and engineering.
UCD professor Maureen Stanton, one of the petition organisers, was delighted by news of the change, saying it's ‘a move in the right direction’. ‘UC has an enormous historical commitment to diversity within its faculty ranks, but still has a long way to go before our faculty adequately represent the diversity of our constituency, the people of California,’ said Stanton.
When Stanton heard about the initial invitation to Summers, she was ‘stunned’. ‘I was appalled that someone articulating that point of view would be invited,’ she said. ‘This is a symbolic invitation and a symbolic measure that I believe sends the wrong message about the University of California and its cultural principles.’ ‘None of us go looking for a fight,’ Stanton said. ‘We were just deeply offended.’”
Yes, diversity in all things. Except, of course, in thought. Presumably, Professor Stanton is also “stunned”, “appalled” and “deeply offended” by the over-representation of, say, gay people in the spheres of arts and drama, or of women in the caring professions, or of Indian employees in Indian restaurants. Perhaps some recalibration of those industries is also in order, to ensure suitable diversity.
Meanwhile, in Ohio:
“The Office of University Housing at Ohio State, a public university, maintains a Diversity Statement that severely restricts what students in Ohio State’s residence halls can and cannot say. Students are instructed: ‘Do not joke about differences related to race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, ability, socioeconomic background, etc. When in doubt about the impact of your words and actions, simply ask.’”
It’s interesting to note that the University’s Diversity Statement aims to foster learning “from a wide array of human similarities and differences in an increasingly diverse world” and plans to achieve this blossoming of awareness by inhibiting any careless reference to those same differences.