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Inge-Lise Mea Culpa

Here’s a wan apology if there ever was one: only through listening has Dean Inge-Lise Ameer come to understand that “not everyone” believes that a mob of students screaming racist imprecations has no place in Berry Library. But does she?

Ameer also apologizes for making a generalization slandering conservatives, though she can’t bring herself to tell us why she said what she said, nor why she was wrong in making the statement:

Ameer Mea Culpa Comp.jpg

IngeLise Ameer1.jpgThis space pointed out from the very start that Dean Ameer’s appointment by Provost Carolyn Dever was a serious mistake. Ameer had neither the training nor the background to be the Dean of the College (note: though her official title is Vice Provost for Student Affairs, she is doing the job of the Dean in its traditional sense at Dartmouth). Her only qualification is that she appears to be in synch with the diversity-besotted views of Provost Dever. Amazingly enough, Dean Ameer is the proud holder of a doctoral degree from Harvard. Read her full thesis here, though the abstract may be enough:

Day-to-day race relations at Harvard College: The student perspective
Ameer, Inge-Lise. Harvard University,
Author Ameer, Inge-Lise, Pages 156 p.
Publication year 2002, Degree date 2002
Advisor: McLaughlin, Judith Block

Throughout the 1980’s and 1990’s, universities and colleges in the United States witnessed an increase in tense race relations among students. Undergraduates describing the racial climate on their campuses conclude that the day-to-day racial tensions are the most difficult to negotiate. (Turner, 1994) This study explores the characteristics of daily “cross-race interactions” (Hurtado, 1994), the routine social and academic interactions for students of color and white students at Harvard College.

Distinguishing this study from previous research on racial climate is its emphasis on exploring students’ experiences and interpretations of their day-to-day positive and negative cross-race interactions. Based on semi-structured interviews with seven African American, seven Latino, seven Asian American and seven white undergraduates, it examines students’ interpretations of these interactions, the differences in racial groups’ descriptions and reports of their experiences, and the strategies students employ to develop successful cross-race relationships. Data analysis incorporates two processes: drafting analytical memos (Strauss, 1987) and transcribing and coding the interviews and memos (Patton, 1990).

The study’s findings indicate that students experience a strained civility in their cross-race interactions in extra-curricular activities, in housing, and in the curriculum. Students arrive with different orientations: white students arrive excited about being part of the most racially diverse community they have ever belonged to. Students of color, on the other hand, are primarily focused on exploring their own racial identities with other students of color. As a result, students of color face nervous and awkward moments with white students who have little skills or strategies for living daily in a racially diverse community. Comparatively, white students experience students of color as not being interested in them. These factors contribute to tense daily cross-race interactions and result in students across race turning to racial stereotypes for explanations of these interactions.

White students and students of color who do experience positive cross-race interactions either came from uniquely diverse secondary schools or made positive cross-race interactions at college a top priority, seeking them out through extra-curricular activities and in race-related courses.

There are also tensions intra-racially. African American students feel tension from Afro-Carribeans; Mexican-American students have tense cross-race interactions with Cuban-American and Argentinean Americans; and the Asian American students face tensions based on country of origin.[Emphasis added]

Is such scholarship — I use the term very advisedly — the kind of thing that Harvard now rewards with the title of Doctor of Philosophy? Twenty-eight chats with students that one then writes up through a lens of political correctness.

The abstract alone contains generalizations that would cause any honest social scientist to cringe. I would have thought it self-evident that many students of color go to college for the same reasons as other students: to study the liberal arts and to obtain sufficient intellectual training to go on to become scholars, scientists, doctors, lawyers and entrepreneurs. But maybe I don’t listen as well as Dean Ameer?

She needs to find another job, and fast. Phil?


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