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James Madison University Faculty Doubles Down on Diversity Efforts Despite Training Backlash

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James Madison University (Wikimedia)

Faculty members and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) administrators at James Madison University have vowed to “reinforce and strengthen” diversity efforts, which they believe are “under attack,” even going so far as asking for gifts for DEI staff members as a token of appreciation for the “valued staff members” behind the efforts.

Emails circulated by faculty and DEI administrators, obtained by National Review, asked members of an environmental interest group at the university to “consider showing up to express your support for diversity, equity and inclusion work and the people who are on the front lines of that work” by attending an August 31 open house for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion departments in Student Affairs.

“The need for us to stand with colleagues who have been attacked for this work are more important than ever and there is not much that is more powerful than physically standing next to them,” the email says.

The email comes in response to backlash over reports that student employees who led freshman orientation were subjected to training that claimed people who identify as male, straight, cisgender, Christian, or American are “oppressors.”

Last month, Tim Miller, vice president for Student Affairs, issued a video apology for the controversial training, which suggested that people who identify as male, cisgender, heterosexual, heteroromantic, Christian, white, Western European, and American are privileged. 

Miller announced the training would be paused for evaluation and review and apologized for “the impact this has had on so many members of our community.”

However, after Miller promised to dedicate his efforts “to ensuring that we learn from this experience,” faculty members have vowed to defend the school’s so-called diversity, equity, and inclusion programming.

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