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College President: ‘Inclusivity’ more important than tuition costs

(Associated Press)

(Associated Press)

“I believe that the most significant challenge facing our school today is not affordability or government regulation or the impact of technology. It is becoming a more diverse and inclusive community of leaders where everybody can succeed.”

These are the words of Larry Goodwin, President of The College of St. Scholastica (CSS) in Duluth, Minnesota, as published in the school’s most recent issue of its alumni magazine.

It must be nice to be a college president who’s able to forget the soaring costs of higher education and brush aside the government regulations on financial aid at his school.

Apparently the problems of debt and government regulation don’t factor into the “social justice” or “demographic realities” Goodwin espouses. Oddly enough, he doesn’t think equality is a good thing, saying the assumption that “academic excellence means treating everybody the same” needs to change.

In his last year as president of CSS, Goodwin says he’s in a position to concentrate “attention and energy on inclusive excellence.” If you’re confused by these feel-good liberal buzzwords, don’t worry. Goodwin brings it home by calling college success that is “markedly stratified along racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic lines” a “moral problem” and an “economic threat to our country.”

duluth

One would hope, after spending nearly three decades of his career at The College of St. Scholastica, President Goodwin would be more in touch with the problems facing students at his college and the best ways to incentivize higher achievement.

Today’s college students are focused on figuring out how they’ll afford another semester, finding well-paying jobs after graduation, and paying off their ever-growing student loan debt as their colleges continue to raise tuition rates. In fact, the unemployment rate of 20-24 year olds has hovered at around 10% for the past year — the highest of any age group other than teenagers.

Young America’s Foundation’s (YAF) national polling data shows that students are not worried about how good they feel about earning their education, about how inclusive their school is, or how diverse their fellow students are. Instead, as our poll showed, students placed education, student loan debt, and unemployment as the three most important issues to address in the near future.

Nowhere in our polling did we find college students who were concerned that their administrators were “culturally fluent”—a priority President Goodwin mentions.

YAF’s polling does show that students believe diversity of student body, subject matter, and opinion (including conservative ideas) could enhance their education, but these items are not the priority this college president (and many others like him) says they are or should be.

College students, myself included, don’t want ideological institutional transformation. We just want a solid education that will prepare us for the workforce and provide a return on the massive investment higher education has become. As we head into the eighth year of the Obama administration’s failed policies, we know our job prospects are not what they could be, and we will not benefit from college administrators spending our tuition dollars on initiatives focused on “inclusivity” and “global villages.”

President Goodwin can opine all he wants about identifying cultural “blind spots” and undoing systems that favor “privilege” or marginalize the “disadvantaged.” But, the real disadvantage belongs to those undergrads facing a grim job market and an average of $35,000 in student loan debt when they have the “privilege” of collecting their diplomas this spring.


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