SUNY Binghamton Cancels Two Diversity Courses

Article excerpt

NEW YORK - A governing group made up of faculty and students at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Binghamton has voted to abolish two required courses on race and gender scheduled to begin in September.

The proposed courses, "The Nature of Oppression" and "The Social Construction of Inequality," have been a major irritant on campus and led to protest marches, sit-ins and a student takeover of the administration building in October.

The Harper College Council, which governs the university's undergraduate arts and sciences college, voted 21-16 to throw out the courses. The council represents 6,341 students, but the proposed courses would have applied only to incoming students.

The vote was taken last Wednesday, but no apparent effort was made by the school to make it public. The council has 54 members - 29 faculty members, 16 undergraduates, three graduate students and six university administrators.

"Force me to bow down and study `The Nature of Oppression' and I will reach for my long knife,"said John Carney, writing in the Conservative Binghamton Review, a campus newspaper he edits.

Jesse Benjamin, president of the Graduate Students Union and a leading pro-diversity activist, could not be reached for comment. He is quoted in the mainstream campus newspaper Pipe Dream as saying, "With this vote, the right-wing has consolidated its hold on this campus, and the neo-fascist takeover is complete."

"I think this is a change in direction for the university," said Mr. Carney, a political philosophy major in the forefront of those opposed to diversity requirements. …