The University of Delaware appears to be taking seriously some of the concerns from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) regarding the student life ideological education program. In a letter from the school, Vice President for Student Life, Michael Gilbert, says
I do acknowledge that there have been some missteps with the implementation of our program. This is a new effort involving over two hundred staff. As with any University educational endeavor assessment and feedback measures have been established to identify issues or concerns. Each of the issues FIRE presents are currently under review. In fact, we recently became aware that students in several residence halls were told their participation is mandatory at these activities and we have taken steps to clarify this misconception and to notify students of their rights in this area.
Time will tell what their review brings but the group bringing the concerns public, FIRE, believes the letter to be insufficient.
FIRE’s Response: FIRE unequivocally stands by its description of the University of Delaware’s “curriculum” for student housing residents. We invite the public to view the full curriculum of the residence life program—available in PDF format on our website—in its entirety, and to judge for themselves whether we have misrepresented any aspect of the nature of that program through selective quotation. In fact, as readers will see upon examination, the concerns that we have raised pervade every one of the hundreds of pages that constitute the University of Delaware’s residence life curriculum.
From my initial glance, I do think FIRE has a point. There are some issues of definition and emphasis that go beyond raising issues but rather prescribe an acceptable point of view. This seems what one would expect at a sectarian school, but not at a taxpayer funded public school.