(First off, sorry I didn’t post yesterday! I was traveling. I’m posting today to make up for it.)

Jerry Coyne recently wrote about the “Difference, Power, and Equity” (DPE) course requirement at Williams. Predictably, he used it as an example of excessive “wokeness”. While I still strongly question his motives in continually targeting the College and its students with hyperbolic language, I don’t think there’s much of a point in discussing them. He’s already banned Ephblog on his site and engaged in name-calling, after all. Rather, his blog post on DPE drew the course requirement to my attention and I thought it would be interesting to discuss and debate.

DPE requirements are not unique to Williams. I did some research on schools similar to Williams found that the following institutions all had some variation of the DPE requirement:

– Dartmouth College (Culture and Identity)
– Bowdoin College (Exploring Social Difference)
– Pomona College (Analyzing Difference)
– Colgate University (Communities and Identities)
– Hamilton College (Social, Structural, and Institutional Hierarchies)
– Davidson College (Cultural Diversity)

There are probably more, but I was too tired to find them. I was surprised to find that some of the colleges above had such a requirement given that they can lean more conservative, but then again, a college leaning conservative relative to its peers doesn’t mean much. Williams, for example, is more “conservative” than its peer LACs but is liberal as an institution.

I am personally in favor of the DPE requirement. It’s not an extra course that one has to take in addition to others; it can be fulfilled by any course that examines certain themes. This is the list of fall courses that fulfill the requirement. Since we live in an increasingly diverse nation and an increasingly globalized world, it only makes sense that students learn about non-Western cultures, underrepresented voices in academic fields, etc. It’s important to graduate college with an open mind as well as an awareness of the workings and experiences of other communities. What do you think?

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