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Conservative student leader: 'Mandatory diversity training' at Jesuit college featured board game on 'structural inequality in America'

The student said a facilitator was flown to run the game about 'prejudices' surrounding 'race, ethnicity, sexuality, gender, and religion'

DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images

A conservative student leader from a Jesuit college said his school held "mandatory diversity training" recently that included playing a board game that "addresses prejudices" regarding "race, ethnicity, sexuality, gender, and religion."

What happened?

Justin Begley — chairman of the Young Americans for Freedom chapter at Canisius College in Buffalo, New York — wrote in his piece for Young America's Foundation that his school holds an annual meeting during which student organizations "learn how to access their funds for the year."

"This year, however, I was shocked to receive an email that the summit would last for 5 hours, and wondered why," Begley said. "I continued to read the email and then I saw it: mandatory diversity training."

He wrote that the training featured a "game that resembled Monopoly" and that the school flew in a game facilitator — "Natalie Gillard from Baltimore" — who created created the game, which is called "Factuality."

A description of the game indicates that it's a "comprehensive tool that serves as a crash course, training, and board game, all in one, that rapidly disseminates facts pertaining to the various tiers of structural inequality in America (in less than 90 minutes)."

As the facilitator, Gillard would "engage participants in a discussion that explores the areas of racial, ethnic, gender, faith, and sexual orientation discrimination, privilege, gender and racial pay gaps, redlining and gentrification, median income averages by race and gender, (mental) health disparities, prison and bail disparities, education inequity, and intersectionality," the Factuality site says.

The student describes playing the game

Begley said each player was assigned a character with a "certain intersectional identity," and that he was an "Asian-American man."

"My friend, who is the vice chairwoman of our chapter, was a 'transgender female and LATINX.' I learned that the 'X' in LATINX makes the term more 'gender inclusive,'" he added.

More from Begley's piece:

Because I was the Asian-American man, I started with the most money, per the rules of the game. My friend, being the most intersectional of the characters, began with the least. We had to play the game as if it was regular Monopoly, minus two caveats. First, black characters could not purchase property on half of the board in order to simulate redlining so that we all could understand what black people face when they go to purchase a house. I found this interesting since redlining was banned in 1968 — guess the host didn't get the memo.

The second caveat was that every 3-5 minutes Natalie would blow a whistle and say some “fact" that included everything from the gender and racial pay gap and racial discrimination in the criminal justice system to racial and sexual-orientation discrimination in employment and education and discrimination in health care.

He added, however, that each "fact" was either anecdotal or an already disproven statistic — but that "the leftist student base ate it up regardless."

Begley said his friend — the transgender female and LATINX — told Gillard she had the most money by game's end, but that the facilitator declared from the stage that “you should not celebrate your newfound wealth but instead use it to fight for those who are still being oppressed by prejudicial injustices in this country."

Here's the conclusion he reached:

This is the common problem on college campuses today. Every student is told that we live in a terrible, awful, no good, very bad place that was founded in racism, sexism, and bigotry. Young people are brainwashed into believing that minority groups are victims of systemic institutional discrimination. We all know that is not true today. But, if you tell people over and over that they are victims, some will eventually believe it.

This training did more harm than good. It was divisive, which proved to me that our school's leaders do not want unity on campuses. They sow seeds of division, while at the same time, seek to appease the Left with unceasing virtue signaling.

A note to college administrators: Stop bringing in people who want to divide our campus on the basis of identity politics. Bring in speakers who are willing to cordially convey their thoughts and ideas. And yes, those people can be liberal or conservative. But don't mandate that your students waste their time at these trainings only to end up more divided and upset than they were before. You aren't helping. You're making matters worse. Be tolerant of all perspectives, and encourage student engagement in the exploration and free exchange of new ideas. And please stop virtue signaling.

Canisius officials on Thursday didn't immediately respond to TheBlaze's request for comment on Begley's piece or the board game.

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