Cornell University recently decided to replace Tapestry of Possibilities — the diversity event that has been presented to incoming first-year students for the past 11 years — with the Identity and Belonging Project. This change was due to a host of complaints leveled against the old program, particularly the failure of the old program to encompass enough topics. The University’s decision to modify this decade-long program brings into question the efficacy of diversity programs, and whether they are really needed.
Diversity programs instill in students the belief that anything that can be remotely perceived as offensive (i.e. microaggressions) is indeed offensive and should therefore be prohibited. On today’s college campuses, speech that is innocuous in mainstream society is often misconstrued as offensive.