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Anti-Bug Bigotry? University of Arizona’s DEI Boondoggle Tells Students to ‘Live Like a Bug’

June 4, 2024

Would you spend $140,000 on a college education that teaches you plenty about how to “live like a bug,” but nothing at all about the Constitution, the Civil War, or landmark Supreme Court cases?

Public colleges and universities nationwide are abandoning their core educational missions in favor of indoctrination in “diversity, equity, and inclusion” (DEI), an ideology that promotes race-based discrimination. The situation is particularly grim at the University of Arizona (UA), where a real assignment in a course that fulfills the “Diversity and Equity” (D&E) core curriculum requirement instructs students to “live like a bug” by “walking around with tissue paper ‘wings’” so they can better understand the experience of “marginalized” groups.

As a condition of obtaining a degree, UA forces students into academically unserious, politicized DEI courses like this one that promote the ideological transformation of American society, according to a new Goldwater Institute report.

The report finds:

  • A D&E course syllabus states that students will learn that “racism is deeply embedded in U.S. history, society, and institutions,” and that “white people hold unearned privilege while people of color have not had equal access to the ‘American Dream.’”
  • Students of this D&E course are explicitly instructed to self-censor in class if others find their views “problematic,” regardless of the merits of their beliefs: “If somebody lets you know something you said is problematic, resist the temptation to become defensive. Instead, apologize, self-reflect, learn, and do better next time.”
  • A course on the science of bugs that fulfills the D&E requirement requires students to experiment with “living like a bug”—including by “walking around with tissue paper ‘wings’”—in order to understand the experience of immigrants, people of a different social class, and other “marginalized” groups.
  • UA fails to provide instruction in American history and civics in its general education curriculum—a blatant violation of the Arizona Board of Regents’ (ABOR) clear directive that all Arizona public universities include these subjects in their general education programs.

For years, leftists have plotted to turn colleges into breeding grounds for activists by infusing the poisonous ideas of DEI into every aspect of campus life, from admissions to faculty hiring to classroom indoctrination.

In recent weeks, the consequences of this scheme became all too clear. College campuses turned into hotbeds for mob violence, unprovoked assaults, and anti-Semitic calls for terrorism and genocide—all while Jewish students were forced to live in fear as their schools refuse to protect their rights. Sadly, it should come as no surprise that the same intolerant campus leftists who can’t stomach conservative speakers have decided Jewish students are “oppressors” who deserve to be harassed, or worse.

This latest report provides even more evidence that public universities around the country are prioritizing progressive activism over real education. It comes after a previous Goldwater report revealed that students in the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University must take a “Diversity and Civility” course that instructs students in “microaggressions” and “cisgender privilege.” And Arizona isn’t alone. A recent report from Speech First shows that more than two-thirds of major universities mandate DEI courses in their general education programs.

To return public universities to their core educational missions, the institutions themselves—or the bodies that oversee them—must adopt a change in policy to eliminate DEI course requirements and require basic instruction in American history and civics.

Goldwater’s Freedom from Indoctrination Act prohibits public universities from requiring politically activist and academically unserious DEI courses as general education or major-specific requirements. The reform also ensures true academic freedom by preventing these taxpayer-funded institutions of higher learning from requiring faculty to include DEI content in their courses.

Finally, the Freedom from Indoctrination Act turns public universities back to their historical role as training grounds for citizenship by requiring basic instruction in American history and civics as part of the core curriculum.

It’s time for state legislatures and public university boards to hold institutions of higher education accountable for fulfilling their core missions: the pursuit of truth and the rigorous education of citizens. The Freedom from Indoctrination Act takes the first step in restoring the promise of higher education.

You can read the full report here.

Timothy K. Minella is a Senior Fellow at the Goldwater Institute’s Van Sittert Center for Constitutional Advocacy. 



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