Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Duke Divinity School professor of Catholic theology resigns after calling out the "illiberal roots and totalitarian tendencies" of diversity training

As someone who has been required to attend a "Diversity Training" exercise, I have to agree with Duke Divinity School professor of Catholic theology Paul Griffiths that such "training" is a colossal waste of time, and while being good-intentioned, it often teaches a liberal ideology which must be accepted and followed if one wishes to remain employed.

The story from the Washington Times.
"The theologian created a firestorm on the Durham, North Carolina, campus this year when he responded to a facultywide email, sent by associate professor Anathea Portier-Young, that encouraged attendance at a two-day anti-racism program."
“I exhort you not to attend this training,” Mr. Griffiths wrote in the Feb. 6 email. “Don’t lay waste your time by doing so. It’ll be, I predict with confidence, intellectually flaccid: there’ll be bromides, cliches, and amen-corner rah-rahs in plenty. When (if) it gets beyond that, its illiberal roots and totalitarian tendencies will show.”
The dean of Duke Divinity School, Edith Heath, confirms those "illiberal and totalitarian tendencies" in the following words,
"She condemned Mr. Griffiths for using mass email 'in order to humiliate or undermine individual colleagues or groups of colleagues with whom we disagree.''The use of mass emails to express racism, sexism, and other forms of bigotry is offensive and unacceptable, especially in a Christian institution,' she wrote in the email, also sent Feb. 6.
I would consider calling Professor Griffiths a racist, a sexist, and a bigot, offensive and unacceptable, especially from someone in charge of a Christian institution. Her character assassinations add to a complaint from associate professor Anathea Portier-Young (who had sent out the original e-mail encouraging participation in the diversity training),
Ms. Portier-Young filed a complaint with the Office for Institutional Equity claiming the use of “racist and/or sexist speech in such a way as to constitute a hostile workplace,”
In addition, Valerie Cooper, Duke Divinity School associate professor of religion and society. accused Professor Griffiths of "academic malpractice",
“As you read Prof. Paul Griffiths‘ complaint, below, please bear in mind that Duke University has a clear statement in favor of diversity, equity, and inclusion,” Ms. Cooper wrote on Facebook this month. “Because this statement *is* Duke University policy, being against diversity isn’t an issue of academic freedom. It is academic malpractice. If you can’t abide by Duke’s policies, you shouldn’t work for Duke.”
"Diversity" at Duke Divinity School obviously is noninclusive and nonequitable when it comes to diversity of opinion.


  1. The offending dean is Elaine Heath, according to your link, not Dr. Griffiths. And of course he was right; this "diversity" training would be a monumental waste of time. Nothing he said was "racist" or "sexist." The training, on the other hand, was very likely to be both.

    Duke Divinity has humiliated itself.