University of Delaware Residence Life Abuses Exposed

The National Association of Scholars salutes its Delaware affiliate for the critical role it played in exposing the abuses of the University of Delaware's Residence Life "citizenship program" referred to by many on the campus as "the treatment."

The aim of "the treatment" was to subject students to a prescribed set of beliefs and attitudes that the University characterized as necessary for good "citizenship." Among the prescribed beliefs were that all whites are inherently racist; that America is an oppressive society; and that helping to dismantle these structures of oppression is a personal duty.

Along with these surprising presumptions, the University of Delaware employed coercive methods, including mandatory group meetings in which dissenters were badgered, and mandatory one-on-one sessions in which Resident Advisors grilled students with intrusive questions, such as "When did you discover your sexual identity?"

This system was adopted without the knowledge of the University's faculty, and would be secret still except that students started to complain to their professors and their parents. This week, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education blew the whistle. Working with FIRE, our Delaware affiliate assiduously gathered key documents in which the University's Office of Residence Life described "the treatment," as well as disturbing personal accounts about the nature of the program from students who were subjected to it. The Delaware Association of Scholars' president, UD professor Jan Blits, was interviewed by both the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Delaware News Journal in their coverage of the resulting story.

University of Delaware president Patrick Harker announced on November 1st that "the program will be stopped immediately." The National Association of Scholars, working with its Delaware affiliate, intends to monitor closely future developments with respect to UD's Residence Life program.

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