Martin Center column probes social justice’s grip on academia

Shannon Watkins of the Martin Center devotes a column to the impact of “social justice” in American higher education.

Social justice education—which teaches young people to view the world through the lens of oppression and demands unquestioning conformity—pervades nearly every nook and cranny of higher education: the administration, general education requirements, extracurriculars, university mission statements, and academic departments.

On December 6, the National Association of Scholars (NAS) co-sponsored an event with the Martin Center to introduce a report on the spread of social justice education in the academy. The first speaker was the report author David Randall, the research director at NAS, followed by a talk by Heather Mac Donald, the Thomas W. Smith Fellow at the Manhattan Institute. A panel discussion followed, moderated by John Hood, president of the John William Pope Foundation.

While extensive reporting has covered social justice’s perverse effects in the academy, few have provided as comprehensive a guide as David Randall. In his new report, Social Justice Education in America, Randall catalogs the ways in which social education has “captured” the academy. Randall dives into course curricula, university-sponsored conferences, student orientations, and all the “training” sessions or workshops that students, faculty, and administrators are required to attend.

“Social justice education—compulsive, coercive, and bullying—replaces the academic’s search for truth with the activist’s search for power,” Randall wrote. According to Randall, the words referring to social justice include: diversity, inclusion, equity, multiculturalism, sustainability, and civic engagement.

During his talk, Randall noted that higher education has no easy solutions to rid itself of social justice ideology. Indeed, he said that he “preaches alarmism” and is not optimistic about it ever being rooted out of colleges and universities.

Mitch Kokai / Senior Political Analyst

Mitch Kokai is senior political analyst for the John Locke Foundation. He joined JLF in December 2005 as director of communications. That followed more than four years as chie...