Sunday, October 22, 2006
"I am actually offended."
So said Nancy Hill, associate professor of psychological and brain sciences at Duke, to a suggestion by another professor that maybe "negative peer effects" imposed on black youth -- like the so-called "acting white" scenario -- make it difficult to prepare minority candidates for college and beyond. Kenneth Knoerr, professor emeritus of environmental meteorology and hydrology, also said
"Unless we do something to improve the preparation of students at the high school level, we're never going to achieve our [diversity] goals."
Hill responded to Knoerr by saying such negative peer effects "are not supported empirically" -- and then added her "I am actually offended" statement. The Duke Chronicle not only made this their most recent headline story, but ended the article (about how a diverse faculty "remains an issue") with Hill's "offended" quip. You know, to make "a statement" that "offensive" comments like Knoerr's really should not be tolerated at such an enlightened institution like Duke.
But we would pose the question to Ms. Hill: Just how "supported empirically" is the notion of "diversity" in terms of assisting college student academic achievement? Exactly how does having more "professors of color" abet that coveted higher student GPA? The very premise of this Duke Chronicle front page offering is the great efforts by the august institution in recruiting -- and retaining -- minority instructors. We remain mystified as to why great universities like Duke care more about a cosmetic postulation like "diversity" instead of recruiting and retaining simply the choicest instructors out there -- hue and ethnicity be damned.