Press Releases | Intellectual Diversity

ACTA Calls on University of Delaware Trustees to Halt Residence Life Program

March 27, 2008

WASHINGTON, DC—Following attempts by the University of Delaware’s Office of Residence Life to resurrect its controversial curriculum, the American Council of Trustees and Alumni has called upon the UD Board of Trustees to suspend the development of any new Residence Life educational program indefinitely.

“It seemed that in November this problem had been laid to rest when President Patrick T. Harker announced the termination of the curriculum—after it prompted a national uproar,” wrote ACTA President Anne D. Neal in a March 21 letter addressed to the Chairman of UD’s Board, Howard E. Cosgrove. “However, in light of recent events, it appears that administrators have not gotten the message and that serious problems of ‘mind control’ will not go away.”

In late January, the Office of Residence Life announced a revised program that the faculty rejected because of its alarming resemblance to the program previously condemned. A report released by the Student Life Committee of the Faculty Senate on February 22 raised various concerns but failed to address the underlying issue of ideologically-loaded program content. The original curriculum, which was instituted by the Office of Residence Life in the 2007-2008 academic year, included diversity training for resident advisors that equated any type of European ancestry with white supremacy and required RA’s to rate residents based on their commitment to such views of “diversity.”

“In its public statements, its policies, and on its website, UD has consistently pledged its commitment to respect ‘the rights of its students, visitors and other members of the University community,'” Neal went on to say. “[G]iven the ideological nature of the two previous Residence Life programs—and the clear challenges administrators are encountering in developing one that instructs rather than indoctrinates—we urge the Board to demand that development of any new program be put on hold indefinitely.”

“Stopping the development of a new Residence Life program and undertaking a thoughtful assessment of the atmosphere on campus and alternatives to such a program would go far in reassuring students, parents, and taxpayers of the Board’s commitment to the institution’s educational mission,” she concluded.

The American Council of Trustees and Alumni is a nonpartisan, nonprofit, national organization dedicated to academic freedom, academic quality, and accountability. Its network includes alumni and trustees from more than 600 colleges and universities across the country, including the University of Delaware. ACTA has issued numerous reports on higher education including The Vanishing Shakespeare, The Hollow Core, and Losing America’s Memory.


Launched in 1995, we are the only organization that works with alumni, donors, trustees, and education leaders across the United States to support liberal arts education, uphold high academic standards, safeguard the free exchange of ideas on campus, and ensure that the next generation receives an intellectually rich, high-quality college education at an affordable price.

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