"I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power." - Thomas Jefferson 1820

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Saturday, March 17, 2012

Judge Not a College Student on the Content of His/Her Character, Judge Him/Her on Sexual Orientation.

College students may want to take a cue from the way  40% of judges in California answered in a voluntary, state sanctioned questionnaire on their ethnicity, race and gender:  "None of your business."

From the NY Times:

Officials of the University of California system have proposed asking incoming freshmen to identify their sexual orientation, a move that might cement such declarations as an emerging topic in the college admissions process.

ABC News reports that the Academic Senate of the University of California system initiated the proposal to ensure that services are provided for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students.

Elmhurst College, in Illinois, announced last year that it would ask students about their sexual orientation on its admission application, making it the first college believed to make such a move. Students who identified themselves as gay were eligible for a diversity scholarship.

As one commenter wrote:

This is a further erosion of privacy and an example of smug crusadership gone wrong. One’s sexual orientation is no one else’s business, particularly as it is something that can evolve with time and do so most notably during the college years. So, as a first step, to place this on a college application is absurd as well as abusive. The power inequality–well established institution deciding upon admission vs. teenage applicant seeking admission–requires no further elaboration. And, as a second step, if a student answers one of these questions falsely for fear of downstream consequences, in effect answering under duress (and it is nothing else), then the same student could, theoretically, be pursued at some later point for “fraud” by having put a false statement in writing and having obtained something of value (either a college admission or some other college benefit, e.g., in the not unthinkable instance in which a non-gay student declared himself/herself gay in order to partake of “diversity” handouts, leaving aside the much more important issue of privacy for actually gay students who do not choose to make this part of their personal lives part of a quasi-public record). There is a certain point at which the declared desire to “do good” becomes indistinguishable from perpetrating vicious evil. This application question has clearly reached that point.
— Steve

What happened to judging (oh, what a politically incorrect word) people based on their character rather than their skin color, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, physical disability, etc?  Why the persistent insistence on dividing people based on certain qualities?  Is this really "equity" or "divisiveness"?  Could we just let people exist without making a federal issue of every aspect of a person's personality, genetic makeup, etc?   If Americans aren't to discriminate based on sexual orientation, then why are there scholarships based on a student's sexual preference?  As 40% of jurists answered the questionnaire "none of your business", most Americans do not care to know of student sexual preferences in the bedroom.  Why do colleges?

Detractors, including some sitting judges, believe the question is intrusive, explains the Los Angeles Times. Unlike race or sex, sexual and gender identity are private matters.  Individuals can choose to divulge the information on their own terms.

Critics also suggest gender and sexual identity are immaterial. Judicial appointments should be about competence, not filling a quota. But can't the same argument be made about sex, race and ethnicity? 

To this end, isn't asking California judges any question about their personal identity inappropriate?

Can these questions and remarks be rephrased to address what's occurring for college students having to proclaim their sexual identity? 

Student achievement should be about competence, not filling a quota (or scholarship requirement).
To this end, isn't asking California students any question about their personal identity inappropriate?

1 comment:

  1. Why do we allow an academic institution to ask questions that would get the average employer a massive law suit if it were on their employee application?


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