Ohio State University (OSU) attacker Abdul Artan was enrolled in a class focused on diversity and microaggressions, and was taught that Muslims were an oppressed minority just two weeks before his car-and-knife assault on his fellow students.
For the fall term at OSU, Artan was taking a class titled “Crossing Identity Boundaries,” offered by OSU’s Higher Education and Student Affairs program in the education department. The class in question is dedicated to “exploring issues of diversity and inequality as well as their personal and social responsibility for building a more just university and society.”
A look at the class’s syllabus reveals that much of it is simply a catalog of alleged oppression in American society. Different class days focused on topics like white privilege and racism, and the syllabus is replete with reading assignments like “Dragon ladies, snow queens, and Asian-American dykes: Reflections on race and sexuality.”
In fact, just two weeks before Artan’s rampage, the class focused on the topic of religious oppression, with a particular focus on the alleged oppression of Muslims. Readings for the November 16 class included “Creating identity-safe spaces on college campuses for Muslim students,” while the Nov. 17 discussion on “Unpacking Religious Oppression” included the reading “Christian privilege: Breaking a sacred taboo.”
In a Facebook post made just minutes before his rampage, Artan cited violence and oppression toward Muslims around the world as the reason for his attack.
Another major component of the class was the topic of microaggressions, the small daily indignities that allegedly weigh down women and minorities in the U.S. and cause them to be less happy and successful.
In fact, according to the syllabus, Artan was supposed to deliver a group presentation and paper on microaggressions the very week of his rampage. A photo posted by a classmate of Artan’s showed that he was in a group set to present Dec. 2.
“Find at least 12 examples of microaggressions using at least 3 different types of social media (e.g., Yik Yak, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest),” the class syllabus says for the assignment. “Explain who the target of the microaggression is and why your group believes it is an example of a negative remark. Provide an example of how you might respond to such a comment.”
Students in the class were to be graded based on the “quality of microaggressions chosen,” along with the quality of their responses.
Ironically, one of the stated goals of the class is that “students will understand and have an appreciation for individuals different from themselves.”
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