Whitewater student says students deserve better in GenEd

A Liberal Arts education, where students learn about a broad range of disciplines, is an important part of a free society. A breadth of knowledge enables students to be well-rounded as they mature, which is why GenEd requirements are essential for a good education.

UW-Whitewater’s humanities-focused GenEd requirements are meant to serve this purpose. Based on my experience in a GenEd course called “Individual and Society,” I doubt they often do. After enrolling in the course, I soon realized the course focus was on intersectional political indoctrination, not informative education.

An exhaustive list of the course’s substandard, one-sided material is not possible here, but I’ll list some examples. In the course, we were given a homework assignment on the article “Privilege 101” published on the website Everyday Feminism, in which students were asked to examine their “privilege and oppression” in the context of our society’s (supposedly) pervasive system of “patriarchy, [and] white supremacy.” Later on in the article, the article encouraged students to “Join feminist and [social justice] activist communities”. This is hardly an impartial analysis of the concept of privilege.

A different assignment had us watch Zoom In: Microaggressions and Disabilities, which, among other things, encouraged viewers not to use the terms “crazy” or “lame” to describe anything, because such language is “microaggressive” and supposedly harmful to those with physical or mental illnesses.

Perhaps the most egregious example of indoctrination was the unit on sex and gender. The professor stated that biological sex is a spectrum, and that the gender binary (found in all mammals) is also a social construction. I was astonished that such an unscientific concept intended to obscure the truth was presented as fact, without opportunity to object, in a course meant to inform students about human experience. Unfortunately, such utter nonsense (and unscientific blank-slate psychology) was pervasive throughout the course.

If I take an astronomy lab next semester, I (and hopefully the university) expect the professor to teach the heliocentric model, and not to teach astrology. If I take a biology lab, I (and hopefully the university) expect I will be taught Darwinian evolution, not young-earth creationism. So why is it acceptable to the university for humanities professors to systematically misinform students by training students in a political ideology and teaching students unscientific nonsense under the guise of GenEd? More importantly, why am I (and every other student) forced to pay a part of our tuition and time towards such nonsense courses through UWW’s GenEd requirements?

Such a state of affairs is unacceptable. When a professor can openly teach a combination of unscientific pseudo-psychology and political activism under the guise of General Education, it demonstrates that students must be given the freedom not to take such courses (i.e. eliminate them from GenEd requirements). Otherwise, the only other solution is for the curriculum to be better quality controlled. The alternative is further mandatory instruction in nonsense, which dissuades future would-be Warhawks from enrolling in the otherwise enriching Liberal Arts education offered here at UW-Whitewater.

–Cole Kinson, UW-Whitewater student

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