Indiana Daily Student

ONLINE ONLY: The tyranny of diversity

On the Monroe County Jail, facing Seventh Street for all passers-by to see, is the police department's motto: "Integrity. Respect. Service. Diversity."\nIt makes me laugh -- I'll give you four guesses which of these was tacked on to be politically correct, and the first three don't count.\nThat's right, diversity. It's the word to which IU pays abject homage at full volume. Students see this word plastered on buildings, on banners hung on lampposts and hurled at them at freshmen orientation sessions.\nBut what sort of diversity is described? Diversity of ideas? Of opinions? Of tastes?\nPerhaps, but this certainly is not the Black Student Union's concept of diversity. Or, put more accurately, diversity should be stuffed down the university's throat with a ramrod. Race, not ability or experience, is to be the ultimate trump card in hiring policies.\nIn an article that appeared in this paper Friday, BSU secretary Ta'Vonna Robertson said, "We don't want the board of trustees to adopt the attitude that it is OK to stop hiring blacks for IU's administrative positions. We need more diverse leadership at Indiana University."\nFar from being altruistic, the BSU is only concerned with black interests, pressuring IU to fill President Herbert's and Coach Davis's spots with other black administrators. But where is the pressure to fill COAS Dean Subbaswamy's position with another Indian? East Asians, particularly Koreans, form a large minority on campus, yet this group is almost completely absent from the administration.\nSo the question remains, why does reference to diversity almost exclusively refer to black people? Because it is the BSU that is protesting most vocally.\nI can't fault the BSU for having a self-interest-driven agenda, but I can fault IU for actually caving in to the protests. Charlie Nelms, vice president for institutional development and student affairs, said in a Monday IDS story, "It's not enough to have an affirmative action policy. We need to make diversity in searches a University priority."\nThe same story also said that IU raising admission standards would "affect diversity" (read: decrease the number of black students).\nBoth Nelms's comment and the concern about standards raises an important issue: IU must choose either the most qualified or the most diverse administration and student body. In an ideal world, these would coincide; but we do not, and never will, live in an ideal world.\nIf IU wants to hire the most qualified administrators and admit the brightest student body, it is going to have to push diversity into the margin. Whether the most qualified candidates are minorities or not, race must be overlooked for ability. And I cannot but be reminded of Martin Luther King's statement that someone's race cannot determine "content of his character."\nWhich brings me back to the motto on the jail: if you have integrity, respect and service, why should diversity matter? And contrariwise, does diversity justify corruption, rudeness and incompetence? IU, by choosing the diversity option, answers "yes" to the latter question.

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