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My daughter attended Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Journalism. Therefore, we invested money in that institution, and I’m always interested in activities there.

According to the news this morning, there has been a spate of bias crimes and hate speech, including racial epithets and painted swastikas. The university, through a particularly ineffective dean at the microphone, threw money at the problem (a million dollars for diversity studies, whatever those are) and mandated “diversity training” for all faculty members. (Incredibly, all fraternity activities were cancelled for the year with no evidence that fraternity members were responsible at the time of the announcement.)

Training is intended to develop skills. It’s notoriously erratic in doing so depending on the amount of reinforcement that follows. However, more relevant, is that biases—overt and hidden—are the result of attitudes and beliefs which require coaching and counseling, not training, if they are to be overcome.

If the point is that faculty needs to be more sensitive and responsive to bias statements and actions, I doubt that’s a training issue. This isn’t about the abominably stupid “micro-aggressions” (don’t call a group of men and women “you guys”) which made some consulting firms rich but didn’t change attitudes one whit.

Ending hate speech, hate actions, hate crimes is a critical and urgent pursuit. But this isn’t like a building in poor repair where you raise money for the improvement, or a person who can’t use a computer who needs the skills to operate it.

This is about everyone having the attitude and intent to identify those relatively few people who hate for the sake of hating, whose self-esteem is so low that they must find others to place beneath them in their twisted minds.

An institution of higher education, which presumably grants PhDs in psychology and sociology, should know better. That, at least, is my attitude.


Written by

Alan Weiss is a consultant, speaker, and author of over 60 books. His consulting firm, Summit Consulting Group, Inc., has attracted clients from over 500 leading organizations around the world.

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