George Mason University Mandates DEI-Infused Courses for Freshmen

Evan Poellinger | March 26, 2024
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Virginia's George Mason University (GMU) has mandated that incoming students must take a pair of courses in a new category called Just Societies, which incorporates Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) ideology.

The course requirement, which will come into effect for students entering GMU in the fall of 2024, is currently in the process of approving courses that will count toward the requirements of this new section. However, the variety of courses that might be approved going forward can be easily gleaned from those already certified, which include “Scientific Racism and Human Variation,” “Introduction to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Studies,” and “Tackling Wicked Problems in Society & the Environment.”

According to GMU, the intended outcomes for this course requirement include being able to “Define key terms related to justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion” and being able to “articulate obstacles to justice and equity, and strategies for addressing them.” GMU claims that “the courses are not focused on the promotion of a prescribed set of beliefs, nor are students expected to espouse a particular set of values as a result of a Just Societies course. Rather, students are expected to be able to discuss their values using a common language.”

Such language, however, has apparently done little to assuage the concerns of Virginians and GMU students. According to Campus Reform, Virginia Education Secretary Aimee Guidera (R) has requested that GMU provide a copy of syllabi for the courses to examine if the curriculum constitutes an imposition of DEI ideology. Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s (R) office also released a statement to Inside Higher Ed declaring that, “The administration has heard concerns from members of the Board of Visitors, parents, and students across the Commonwealth regarding core curriculum mandates that are a thinly veiled attempt to incorporate the progressive left’s groupthink on Virginia’s students.”

“Virginia’s public institutions should be teaching our students how to think, not what to think and not advancing ideological conformity,” the statement explains.

A Heritage Foundation study found that GMU has the highest density of DEI staff in the nation:

“GMU has at least 69 DEI personnel, which, given that it has 938 tenured or tenure-track faculty, yields a ratio of 7.4 DEI staff per 100 faculty. Only Syracuse University, a private institution, matched GMU’s ratio of 7.4 DEI per 100 faculty.”

Incorporating DEI ideology into the classroom has become relatively commonplace. However, for a public university to institute the learning of DEI as an educational requirement seems to represent a serious escalation in the ongoing conflict over the American education system.