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A Defense of Hillsdale and its President
Hillsdale College

College Fix summer intern Spencer Amaral weighed in on the recent controversy surrounding Hillsdale College for The American Spectator:

When I recently heard that the president of my school, Hillsdale College, was in hot water for making racist remarks at a state hearing on education, I was stunned.

But upon learning the facts, it was immediately obvious that this was simply another case of liberal scandal-mongers scraping the bottom of the barrel to try to discredit one of the nation’s finest — and most conservative — colleges.

Hillsdale College President Dr. Larry Arnn was speaking at a Michigan Department of Education hearing in Lansing last Wednesday on his opposition to Common Core curriculum (which should be the real story here, but we’ve conveniently managed to cut that out of the conversation). Arnn presented his argument against state interference in education, and included a story of state officials visiting Hillsdale College in 1998 to inspect the school’s “racial diversity.” Arnn was outraged – as am I – that the state would act in such a blatantly race-based manner. Not to be Mr. Obvious here, but to have bureaucrats walking around the campus of a top-tier college with clipboards, taking notes on the skin color of the students they see, is by definition racist because it doesn’t recognize a person’s character or individuality, but only the color of their skin.

Arnn sought to express disgust at the backwards and dehumanizing actions of the state officials, which were revealed when he later received a letter from the Michigan Department of Education. The letter, he said, notified him that Hillsdale College “violated the standards for diversity because we didn’t have enough dark ones, I guess, is what they meant.”

“To that I told them, we are probably the first college in human history, certainly one of them, founded with a charter that says we will take black and white men and women without any discrimination,” Arnn said.

The committee members immediately took offense at the use of the term “dark ones.” Such stunning adeptness at bending over backwards to find offense in a statement by ignoring the plainly-stated context — which had just been declared literally right in front of them moments before — is truly astonishing, and depicts either a mind-hobbling willful ignorance or a frightful ineptitude of the English language. Never mind that the term was only meant as an ironic slam against the hypocrisy of state officials who preach the virtues of a color-blind society, and then measure students by skin color alone. The point was clearly so above the committee members’ heads that it almost took out a satellite.

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