Brown University to allow grad students to ‘self-identify’ as minorities

Brown University to allow grad students to ‘self-identify’ as minorities
(Image: Brown U. via

Somewhere Rachel Dolezal is having a good laugh.

According to The Brown Daily Herald, the goal of a new Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan at Brown University is to encourage historically underrepresented groups, or HUGs, to become part of the Brown family. In the plan, HUGs are defined as “those who self-identify as American Indian, Alaskan Native, African American, Hispanic or Latinx and Native Hawaiian and/or Pacific Islander.”

The article notes with more than a trace of pride that the “largest-ever cohort of students” from HUGs entered graduate programs this fall, representing 12% of the entire class of graduate students. The number of students from HUGs has increased by 38% since 2015.

Reaching quotas, once viewed as anathema, has become a revered practice in academe of late. But accomplishing that end by permitting students to self-identify as members of groups to which they obviously don’t belong is as novel as it is seemingly crazy.

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Make that “crazy like a fox.” If the university is concerned about grant money based on the ethnic makeup of its students, it can simply urge more graduate students to self-identify as an underrepresented ethnicity. It’s not hard to imagine that students might identify as members of one ethnicity one day, another on a different day.

It’s also not hard to imagine ethnic self-identification becoming a flash point among actual members of minority groups. At a time when black students in particular are seeking “affinity housing” options that effectively permit them to self-segregate from everyone on campus, why is Brown not concerned about backlash?

(h/t The College Fix)

Ben Bowles

Ben Bowles

Ben Bowles is a freelance writer and regular contributor to "Liberty Unyielding."

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