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I Love It When A Five-Year Plan Comes Together

For the dedicated follower of controversy, this (PDF link) is required reading. Ladies and gentlemen, the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity’s Five-Year Diversity Plan: it’s what we’re all going to be screaming at each other about next year.

(By the way, I would like to take this opportunity to declare a pre-emptive moratorium on “five-year plan” jokes. Seriously, couldn’t they have picked a different number?)

Released without fanfare (and, coincidentally enough, one day before the final University Senate meeting of the year) to an uncritical write-up from the ODE, the brouhaha surrounding this document has been steadily building over the last couple of weeks as more people have actually gotten a chance to read it. (Including, as detailed here, some who were rather upset to learn that they had supposedly been involved in writing it.) Put simply, it is an audacious institutional power grab on the part of the OIED – as the plan currently reads, they would have a say in the funding of new academic positions, hiring decisions, tenure review, salary levels, and virtually every significant operational aspect of every University department. The standard by which all departments will be judged is the nebulously-defined one of “cultural competency”, and you won’t need three guesses to figure out which branch of the University administration will be in charge of deciding who is “culturally competent” and who is not.

This is, as they say, developing – and it’s likely to get interesting before too long. First salvo: the MCC is apparently holding a demonstration in the EMU amphitheater at 2 PM today in support of the plan. Hold on to your hats, folks.

  1. Big M says:

    And if you happen to take a look at today’s Dirty, you’ll see a letter from some half-wit at the CALC…of whatever they are called.

    I have an exceprt from it written over at my blog:

  2. Danimal says:

    Rather unfair to make a five-year-plan joke in your headline, and then declare a moratorium on such jokes. Stalinist blogging!

  3. JohnH says:

    I loved it when they posted the lists of departments, along with the number of non-white faculty members. They would decry this department for not having any, and some other department for only having 1-2 etc.

    One year, I walked up and pointed out that they had a poster up saying that the Religious Studies department was ‘not diverse’ because they only had one professor who wasn’t white. I asked the person at their little desk how many ‘ethnically diverse’ profs that department should have. They responded ‘at least 4!’

    At which point I mentioned the entire department only had 3 faculty members.

  4. Casey says:

    If you want to read anything by Reinhard, I suggest you skip every third word. He insists on constantly hyperbolizing to make whatever point he’s trying to conjure, so a complete reading of the text is unneccesary.

  5. Timothy says:

    Operationally defined, cultural competence is the integration and transformation of knowledge about individuals and groups of people into specific standards, policies, practices, and attitudes used in appropriate cultural settings to increase the quality of services; thereby producing better outcomes (Davis, 1997 referring to health outcomes).
    Re-education? Is this come up with in camps? I mean do we really need training to know not to be assholes to our coworkers? Jesus Jumped Up Christ on a pogo stick, batman!

  6. Ian says:

    Good post, Michael. I just went back and read my own post and can’t believe how many times I used the word “but”. I think Movable Type needs a built-in editor, heh.

  7. Michael G says:


    I pretty much agree with that take on it. Reinhard does get a little too far into the Jim Crow comparisons.

    The chief failure of the comparison being the fact that Jim Crow laws promoted racism directly, and there was little question as to the intent. The OMAS policy is simply trying too hard to correct a past wrong in the wrong way… but two wrongs don’t make a right, as they say.

    It wasn’t really the content of the article that interested me as it was the fact that it’s getting bigger than Eugene and the UO, and the surprise that a writer for the Oregonian was not defending the policy.

    He does make an excellent point about “Cultural Competency”, which was the biggest red-flagged question mark that came up in my mind reading the draft Diversity Plan. The copy I saw didn’t define it at all.

    What is “Cultural Competency”? Well, I’ve got a definition, found on

    “Cultural competence is defined as a set of congruent behaviors, attitudes, and policies that come together in a system, agency, or among professionals and enables that system, agency, or those professionals to work effectively in crosscultural situations (Cross et al., 1989; Isaacs & Benjamin, 1991). Operationally defined, cultural competence is the integration and transformation of knowledge about individuals and groups of people into specific standards, policies, practices, and attitudes used in appropriate cultural settings to increase the quality of services; thereby producing better outcomes (Davis, 1997 referring to health outcomes).”

    And that last bit:

    Godwin’s Law is, of course: “As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one.”

    So Olly’s law should read something along the lines of: “As a (possibly online) discussion about diversity or multiculturalism grows larger, the probability of a comparison involving Jim Crow laws or national institutionalized slavery approaches one.”

  8. Ian says:

    While I agree with Reinhard that the new policies are bad, the Jim Crow comparisons are, as Olly has repeatedly pointed out, inappropriate. The racial quotas are inherently racist, but that doesn’t put them anywhere near the level of Jim Crow laws. These policies shouldn’t be in place, but comparing a University-level policy to widespread government-sponsored institutional bigotry against a racial group which had only years earlier been held as slaves is absurd. I’m sorry, but these policies do not “rival” literacy tests and poll taxes. They are wrong and Jim Crow laws were wrong, but that are light years away from being the same thing.

    Also, I think we need a Godwin’s Law for Jim Crow comparisons. Until someone thinks of something better, I’m calling it Olly’s Law.

  9. Michael G says:

    Posted in ”

    Seems there is at least one commentatar at a major fishwrapper that agrees there is a problem with the OMAS classes.

    A quote: “It’s astonishing. The university has managed to concoct a program mixing modern racial quotas with a system old, Southern, white racists would have envied.”

  10. Timothy says:

    I really don’t get what “cultural competency” even means.

    Okay, let’s see here, this is the United States of America, so to be competent in our culture you have to have a basic understanding of market capitalism, be willing to exchange labor for wages, and enjoy television?

    Is one “culturally incompetent” if one cannot name the cast of the latest Survivor series, at least three of the founding fathers, and hold a somewhat informed discussion on the principles of Federalism?

    I somehow think that’s probably not what G-Vin had in mind.

  11. Melissa says:

    Oh? Is that what was going on? They really need to be more clear about what they demonstrate for/against: all these gatherings are metling together for me.
    I know enough that when I see a shouting mass of people with large angry signs I promptly walk the other way/hide in the hide in the nearest building.

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