(NaturalNews) Critics call it more liberalism run amok on university campuses: A professor emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison claims that a new school policy on "diversity" recommends assigning race-based grades to students, though school officials say his claim could not be "further from the truth."
Writing in an op-ed for the John William Pope Center in July, Prof. W. Lee Hansen called the language of the new policy "education babble," and said that both the university staff and students have embraced the policy without really questioning it.
"Although much of the language is a thicket of cliches, no one dared challenge it. Moreover, there was no probing of the ramifications of the plan. Apparently, 'diversity' has become such a sacred cow that even tenured professors are afraid to question it in any way," wrote Hansen.
Hansen also charged that the new policy simply urges race-based grading, something that is unheard of and is most likely going to anger some non-minority students.
"Especially shocking is the language about 'equity' in the distribution of grades," Hansen wrote. "Professors, instead of just awarding the grade that each student earns, would apparently have to adjust them so that academically weaker, 'historically underrepresented racial/ethnic' students perform at the same level and receive the same grades as academically stronger students."
He said the new policy, called the "Framework for Diversity and Inclusive Excellence," just "sailed through our Faculty Senate without the least bit of attention."
Of more than 42,000 students enrolled at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, minority students only make up 13 percent of the student population, The Christian Post reported. Asians, at 5.3 percent, make up nearly half of that share, the school's website says.
On July 21, Prof. Patrick Sims, the chief diversity officer and interim vice provost for diversity and climate at the university, blew off Hansen's claims in a statement that he posted to the UW-Madison website.
"The idea that UW-Madison will begin to base student grading or the make-up of programs or majors on race or ethnicity has circulated on the Internet in the wake of a recent opinion column by emeritus UW-Madison professor Lee Hansen. Allow me set the record straight: Nothing could be further from the truth," noted Sims.
"Regrettably, Hansen's assertion that the campus' most recent strategic diversity framework embraces a quota system for apportioning grades by race, is a gross misrepresentation of our current efforts," he added.
Sims went on to say that the document Hansen cited in his op-ed is not the current diversity policy but another called the UW System Inclusive Excellence framework, which he says was adopted by the Board of Regents in 2009.
That document endorses a concept called "Representational Equity" which is defined as: "Proportional participation of historically underrepresented racial-ethnic groups at all levels of an institution, including high status special programs, high-demand majors, and in the distribution of grades."
'Us vs. them'
That concept, according to Simms, is based on research by Estela Bensimon, a co-director of the Center for Urban Education and professor of higher education at the University of Southern California.
"This approach is not reflected by UW-Madison's plan. However, Hansen's interpretation is out of context and reflects a misunderstanding. Bensimon's point of proportional equity is intended as an outcome of plans like inclusive excellence being implemented and valued by institutions," wrote Sims.
"This proportional and equitable distribution of grades arises (without intervention at the time of grading) by fostering living and learning spaces that are inclusive of historically marginalized students so that they can do their best learning and earn better grades; not through the 'redistribution' of artificially-enhanced grades," he added.
Still, Hansen criticized "diversity" in general, saying the "obsession with groups distracts everyone from what truly matters--whether or not each student makes the best academic progress."
"The campus climate has worsened by constantly referring to minority students as 'targeted' minority students, and in the process stigmatizing them. It has also led to an unseemly 'us versus them' mindset among many of those students," he wrote.