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Siena Heights University creates new ‘JEDI’ certificate with taxpayer dollars


Will train students how to apply DEI in the workplace

Siena Heights University will offer a new certificate in “Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion” this upcoming fall semester.

The new certificate will give students “hands-on experience” for how to apply DEI in the “workplace,” according to the professor who directs the program at the Michigan Catholic college.

The initiative stems from a National Endowment for the Humanities grant to explore the feasibility of the certificate. Siena Heights received $34,905 so it could “design a new, coherent D&I certificate program at SHU that is qualitatively distinct from the D&I certificates offered at other institutions and which can be offered in either online or blended/hybrid formats,” according to the grant summary.

Students can earn the certificate after they have completed 12 credit hours of training on concepts such as: “racism, sexism, ageism, ableism, homophobia, transphobia and xenophobia through readings from classical and contemporary sources in history, philosophy, literature and business.”

Professor Leland Harper  told The College Fix via email the “most exciting aspect” of the certificate is JEDI 480, because “students will be placed at an external organization in their field to work with an on-site supervisor for approximately ten weeks to identify and address one or more organizational issues related to justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion.”

He also runs a separate DEI consulting company that is unaffiliated with Siena Heights. It has partnered with the university to offer ‘implicit bias training.'”

“[The course] allows our students to put theory into practice and gain real hands-on experience applying their knowledge in the workplace,” Professor Harper said.

Professor Harper (pictured) explained how this program is different from other DEI initiatives.

“While many of [other DEI programs] provide useful information, each of them focuses primarily on compliance,” Harper said. “To me, this is the bare minimum that we should be doing – we should not just be trying to comply, and there is more that needs to be said about how and why we can foster ideas of justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion in our society.”

MORE: UC Berkeley only hired professors who had enough DEI points

“Simply put, the education programs that are out there, by and large, weren’t doing a good enough job of providing learners with the information they need,” he said.

A business professor at Drexel University who wrote a book on liberal indoctrination, criticized the new program in emailed comments to The Fix.

Clinical Professor of Management Stanley Ridgley, the author of “Brutal Minds: The Dark World of Left-Wing Brainwashing in Our Universities,” said the program will likely be “ideologically cramped and dogmatic.”

“Students have been learning about ‘cultural differences’ since the Enlightenment university emerged in the 1700s—in fact, the Western University is the only academic institution in the world where these differences have been consistently accorded respect,” he said.

“DEI certificates aren’t needed, because they aren’t about Diversity. Their purpose is to funnel noxious ideology into the university under a false flag,” Professor Ridgley said. “The very vagueness of such program titles suggests that what actually appears in them is ideologically cramped and dogmatic.”

“‘Learning about race’ and ‘Learning about cultural differences’ and ‘difficult dialogues’ are intentionally vague topics that provide wide latitude for the indoctrinations, whose purpose is to inculcate a doctrinal orthodoxy in students,” he said. “A waste of valuable resources.”

Editor’s note: The relationship between Harper’s consulting company and Siena Heights has been clarified.

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IMAGE: lharperconsulting.com

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About the Author
Anna Wascovich -- Franciscan University of Steubenville