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Group thinking

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In his Jan. 25 article, "UNC report proposes rules for big gifts," Charles Duncan quotes Sherryl Kleinman on her vociferous dislike for the John W. Pope Center for Higher Education Policy. She avers that we mock and disparage UNC's efforts to "respect ethnic, gender, and sexual diversity and to create a more inclusive scholarly community." It would be more accurate to say that we do not believe that the kinds of courses that have been added to the curriculum, such as "Latina/o Studies," are necessary in order to show "respect" to anyone. An intellectually solid curriculum is neither disrespectful nor exclusionary. Moreover, cluttering up the curriculum with lots of "identity" courses does a disservice to the students who spend their time on them; it's like choosing to eat a bowl of jello rather than a bowl of soup.

Kleinman also cannot resist the snide assertion that we'd like to see the study of civilization confined to "great white men." Utterly baseless.

Students ought to study civilization without including or excluding people merely because of race or other personal characteristics. I would like to see students reading the autobiography of Frederick Douglass, among other works. What I reject is the idea that the curriculum must be designed to ensure that students read so many authors from this group, so many authors from that group, and so on. Merit has nothing to do with the penchant of modern liberals for assigning people to groups.

George C. Leef

Director, John W. Pope Center
for Higher Education Policy

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