Clemson University intends to spend $27,000 for a “diversity education and training” program for members of faculty following a pledge by Clemson President James Clements in 2016 to create a more inclusive campus environment.
To encourage faculty participation, the university will issue automated reminders should they decide to skip the training program called “Diversity Benefits for Higher Education,” which is produced in the form of a PowerPoint presentation. Participating faculty members who complete the program ahead of others receive polo shirts and mugs paid for by the school.
According to e-mails obtained by Campus Reform from the Office of Inclusion and Equality and the Office of Human Resources, the training is being provided by a company called Workplace Answers, which billed the university $26,945.
The training program presents scenarios featuring fictional characters, with problems that participants must figure out.
An scenario called “Breakfast Time” features two groups who agree to meet at 9:00am, one of which arrives 15 minutes early, and the other 10 minutes late. In this scenario, politely asking the second group to apologize, or telling them “In our country, 9:00am means 9:00am” are wrong answers. Faculty must instead “recognize cultural differences that may impact the meeting and adjust accordingly.”
The exercise explains that the organizer “should recognize and acknowledge cultural differences with ease and respect. Cultures view many things, including death, prosperity, and even colors, quite differently.”
“Time may be considered precise or fluid depending on the culture,” it states.
Clearly, punctuality and consistency are traits only possessed by white people.
In another scenario detailed by Campus Reform, a black woman named Tanisha and a white man named Jonathan both apply for the same job posting placed by a white woman named Stephanie. Tanisha sends an e-mail accusing Stephanie of selecting Jonathan over her “because he is a white male.”
The correct response, according to the test, is for Stephanie to “reflect on her behavior to see if Tanisha is correct” and “Contact Access and Equity or Human Resources about the email.” The wrong response is to tell Tanisha it’s offensive to accuse a woman of sexism.
“As a woman, Stephanie could have discriminated against another woman or against someone of her own race,” it says.
According to the publication’s examinations of the PowerPoint slides, other exercises include questions on transgender identity pronouns and sexist gender norms. Given how laughable the exercises are, one might wonder if the $27,000 would have been better spent on something else.
Last year, Clemson University made the news after a resident advisor violated the college’s First Amendment protections by issuing a ban on Harambe gorilla memes, calling them “rape culture.” More recently, RAs removed posters of Pepe the Frog from student doors.