University Pays Students To Spy On Peers For ‘Bias Incidents’

REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

David Krayden Ottawa Bureau Chief
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Are you a student looking for some extra cash to get you through the month? Well, at the University of Arizona, you can earn extra money for just spying on your peers and nagging them about their social responsibilities by being a “social justice advocate.”

Never forgetting its own commitment to social justice, the university is paying well above the minimum wage for this task, offering $10 an hour.

As the university explains on its website, a social justice advocate (SJA) “will be responsible for instituting monthly programmatic efforts within the residence halls that focus specifically on social justice issues.” This translates into putting up a bulletin board in the campus hallways or being ready to lead “social justice modules once a month” for anyone with time on their hands.

Sounding a bit like a block leader in Soviet Russia, SJAs will “openly lead conversations, discuss differences, and confront diversely insensitive behavior.” When students are not complying with social justice standards, SJAs are encouraged to tattle on their peers, reveal the deviant actions to higher authorities and “report any bias incidents or claims to appropriate Residence Life staff.”

Non-compliant students might achieve some degree of re-education through “real talks” that SJAs are expected to have with their fellow dorm students.

The university stresses that one should not take the duties of an SJA lightly. “The position also aims to increase understanding of one’s own self through critical reflection of power and privilege, identity and intersectionality, systems of socialization, cultural competency, and allyship as they pertain to the acknowledgement, understanding, and acceptance of differences,” the online job description explains.

The position, first pointed out by Campus Reform, could well be the beginning of a student’s self-actualization as the objective of the job is to “increase a student staff member’s ability to openly lead conversations, discuss differences, and confront diversely insensitive behavior.”

At $10 an hour and working about 15 hours a week, students can expect to bring in about $600 a month —  all for enriching the lives of other students as they build “inclusive communities through positive interactions.”

By hectoring their classmates on ideological purity, “The Social Justice Advocates Position is one that is grounded in the multicultural competency framework and allows student staff to gain the awareness, knowledge, and skills necessary to work effectively with students and residents across cultures and identities,” the university promises, cautioning that a successful applicant should also have an understanding of “everyday life.”

The SJA initiative is another example of how the Social Justice Resource Centre at the university is “fostering social justice through respect, equity and compassion.” The center is already running a program entitled “Advocates Coming Together” for students who are keen to introduce social justice and change into other people’s lives and want to “educate” others about the desired objective of inclusivity.

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