Does your employer expect you to show up to work on time? If so, he or she might be racist. That is, according to the “inclusion awareness course” at South Carolina’s Clemson University.
The state-funded college purchased online training curriculum that suggests as much, Campus Reform reported earlier this week. The training asserts that time is up for debate. In other words, 9 a.m. apparently doesn’t bear the same meaning for every person.
The curriculum depicts several different fictional scenarios. One slide features a man named Alejandro, who is planning a meeting between two groups, each of which contains foreign professors and students. One group shows up 15 minutes early, the other 10 minutes late.
The guide says it would not be “inclusive” of Alejandro to “politely ask the second group to apologize” for wasting the time of the group that arrived several minutes before the designated meeting time — 9 a.m. Instead, Alejandro should “recognize cultural differences that may impact the meeting and adjust accordingly.”
It is important for Alejandro to understand “that his cultural perspective regarding time is neither more nor less valid than any other,” the training continued.
The training is provided by a company called Workplace Answers and cost Clemson a total of $26,945, according to an invoice obtained by The Tiger Town Observer, the university’s student-run newspaper. And it appears the purchase was approved by Clemson’s chief diversity officer, Lee Gill, whose salary tops $185,000 a year.
In another made-up scenario in the curriculum, one character, Maxine, believes the “diversity training” is a distraction about nothing more than “political correctness.” In response, the training says, Henry, a fellow character, should discuss with Maxine “how diversity can lead to better decisions” and “decrease employee turnover.”
The incorrect response, the curriculum points out, would be for Henry to “say nothing” to Maxine, allowing her to believe she’s correct.
Other examples in the training tackle issues like sexism. In one slide, two characters — Tanisha and Jonathan — apply for a college administration job posted by a character named Stephanie, who later receives an email from Tanisha when she finds out she was not granted an interview for the position.
“You invited him to interview and not me, apparently because he is a white male,” Tanisha writes in her email to Stephanie.
The slide encourages Stephanie to “reflect on her behavior to see if Tanisha is correct,” adding that it would be inappropriate for her to “tell Tanisha it is offensive to accuse a woman of sexism,” because in the U.S., “we are all raised with biases” and “as a woman, Stephanie could have discriminated against another woman or against someone of her own race.”
Last April, Clemson President James Clements pledged “all employees will participate in diversity education and training” in an effort to create a more inclusive environment on the South Carolina campus.
According to one professor who spoke anonymously with Campus Reform, faculty and staff are “encourage[d]” to take the training. It was not immediately clear whether or not they could face disciplinary action for refusing to participate.
Instead, staffers were incentivized with free mugs and T-shirts by Clemson’s Office of Inclusion and Equity and the Office of Human Resources. In an email about the “inclusion awareness course,” faculty and staff were informed: “Employees who have not completed the training will receive two automated reminders.”