In the wake of the U-Delaware indoctrination sessions for dorm-dwellers, the National Association of Scholars has called for professors, not Student Affairs staff, to control residence-hall curricula. In the name of â€œeducating the whole person,â€ â€œthe residential life revolutionâ€ and â€œthe student learning imperative,â€ Student Affairs staffers are trying to create “progressive social change,” charges NAs. The faculty, having retreated into scholarly specialties, doesn’t realize that “the traditional goals of the university are being threatened by a morally imperious philistinism.”
The . . . â€œstudent learning imperativeâ€ . . . seeks to â€œtransformâ€ students, but in a doctrinaire and coercive way. It assumes that undergraduates arrive on campus bearing a benighted inheritance â€“ the values of traditional American culture â€“ that must be replaced by more enlightened attitudes. Students must confess their racial, sexual, and other prejudices; admit that American society is, by its nature, oppressive; and pledge to promote specific forms of social and political change. In short, the â€œstudent learning imperativeâ€ aims at winning converts to an orthodoxy.
Chronicle of Higher Education focused on the power clash between faculty and residential staffers.
In particular, the statement questions residence-life programs that have moved to a â€œcurricular model,â€ going well beyond the social activities that once were their domain. â€œStaff members in residence life may be well meaning,â€ the statement says. â€œBut they can never be â€˜equal partnersâ€™ with the faculty.â€
The comments are vituperous. If the NAS professors look down on Student Affairs types as undereducated manipulators, the “Imperativists” (as apparently they call themselves) see professors as lazy, disengaged and incapable of teaching.