Social-Justice Activism Invades Medical School | National Review

Social-Justice Activism Invades Medical School | National Review

An aerial view of the University of North Carolina campus and surrounding area on April 21, 2013 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. (LanceKing/Getty Images)

Almost none of the people who run educational institutions in America these days can resist the temptation to signal their virtue (and curry favor with various interest groups) by embracing “social justice,” “anti-racism,” and other leftist tropes. It was bad enough when it was happening in English departments, but now we find it in more worrisome places, such as medical schools.

The University of North Carolina’s medical school is one of them and in today’s Martin Center article, John Sailor examines the controversy.

After criticism of the school’s initial announcement of its new initiatives, it released an “Update” document. Sailor finds that document to be neither clarifying nor relieving. He writes, “Many of the recommendations flirt with violating academic freedom. They include ‘Revise Promotion and Tenure Guidelines to include a social justice domain required for promotion’ and ‘Directors of all phases will begin to examine and change content as needed to include anti-racist concepts as defined in the objectives.’”

The medical school also tries to say that the “social justice” changes were forced on it by the demands of its accreditor. Sounds like Brer Rabbit begging not to be thrown into the briar patch. Major institutions don’t have to quiver in fear at their accreditors. If UNC wanted to avoid going “woke” it could have.

Sailor continues, “Ambiguities aside, The Update ultimately reaffirms the School of Medicine’s slide toward social justice activism. It acknowledges, for example, that DEI efforts are now included in the criteria for promotion and tenure. While it notes that ‘faculty efforts are conceptualized in the broadest context, and contributions may extend across research, teaching, service and clinical work,’ this requirement will still inevitably put pressure on dissenting faculty — a pressure to conform to today’s mainstream conception of social justice, even while many object to that conception on legitimate grounds.”

These “social justice” moves won’t improve medical care; they will waste time and resources on ideological distractions.

George Leef is the the director of editorial content at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.

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About the Author

Tony Beasley
Tony Beasley writes for the Local News, US and the World Section of ANH.