University of North Dakota Develops Special Housing for Progressive “Social Justice” Students


UND officers take their places on stage at the University of North Dakota summer commencement, held at Chester Fritz Auditorium in Grand Forks, N.D. on August 5, 2016. (Meg Oliphant/Grand Forks Herald)

No, it’s not a joke. This is a real thing, apparently developed by the campus housing office:

The Social Justice Living-Learning Community is “designed for students who are involved in promoting a more inclusive and just society,” and promises to provide such students with opportunities for “creating and leading positive social change.”

The website for the LLC does not have a specific schedule of events for the semester, but notes that students may engage with guest speakers, film series, book clubs, and service opportunities.

Cheryl Terrance, faculty advisor of the UND Ten Percent Society (TPS), a student support group for the “GLBTQQIA community,” told Campus Reform that the LLC was developed by the school’s housing office, but predicted that social justice-oriented student groups such as TPS would likely be involved in programming efforts.

Connie Frazier, Executive Director of Housing and Dining at UND, corroborated that speculation, telling Campus Reform that while LLCs are housing initiatives, they arise out of student interest and students self-select who will live in the community.

“This is a brand new one so those students are just beginning now the discussion of how they want to define their community and what kinds of activities they would want to get involved and do,” Frazier explained.

If you’re an independent thinker attending the University of North Dakota this year I guess you know where you won’t want to be staying lest you do something provocative that has another student accusing you of racism or sexism or some other nasty -ism.

All joking aside (though, really, this isn’t that funny) I’m not sure this is a healthy development for college campuses. We’ve seen this trend toward segregation along racial and sexual orientation lines, and the excuse routinely given is that the segregation is intended to promote diversity and safe spaces for students.

But are we sending students to college so that they can clump together in homogeneous little cliques, with the blessing and full cooperation of campus administrators? Because I thought one of the goals of the higher education experience was to make students more worldly by exposing them to experiences outside of what they’re used to.

That those experiences might have made students feel uncomfortable was the whole damn point.

Campuses that promote these sort of ideological/racial/sexual cliques, hot houses for homogeneity, are doing a disservice to students who will eventually need to live and work in a society that is diverse in every way a society can be diverse.

UPDATE: In somewhat related news, I missed this in the NDSU student newspaper the other day. After a favorite local watering hole burned down apparently distraught students were offered counseling by the university.

After an outpouring of grief on social media, the North Dakota State Counseling Center posted on its platforms that it would help those struggling with the loss.

“The Turf was a gathering place for the whole NDSU family. If u need to talk about its loss or anything else in life call us!” the support crew tweeted.

Grief counseling. For a bar.

You can’t  make this stuff up.