Directives like Georgetown University’s diversity requirement “do not add to the value of a true liberal arts education,” writes Nicholas Elliot in The Georgetown Review.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with, as he says, “engaging diversity;” however, the problem is when that engagement becomes mandatory in nature:
“Who is deciding which courses constitute diversity? Why do some courses not make the cut? Diversity is largely subjective, and each individual needs a different form of diversity exposure.”
Today, diversity is often defined solely on the basis of race or religion. This type of thinking has created an environment where our society uses these outward forms of diversity to assume things about an individual. Whether it’s a political identification or privilege, focusing solely on external diversity leads to stereotypes.
When discussing issues of diversity, students should realize this fact: it is impossible to achieve true diversity. Instead, students are subject to what the University deems is diverse without any regard to an individual’s own experience.
Georgetown students already engage with a diverse set of ideas and cultures through the existing requirement framework. Through the exploration of theology, the humanities and other liberal arts electives, students are exposed to different ways of thinking about and approaching the world.
What does a diversity requirement accomplish if Georgetown’s mission is already to promote a well-rounded education and globally-aware citizen?
Instead of worrying about diversity, Georgetown should expand its commitment to the liberal arts and allow students to explore a wider range of courses. To do this, the University should eliminate the diversity requirement and, in its place, encourage students to take a stronger core of liberal arts courses.