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3 Forms of Educational Bias That Can Make Your Institution Toxic

Updated: Jul 29, 2019

In higher education, there are lots of different people with differing viewpoints. Unfortunately, sometimes people who disagree discriminate against people who hold different views than they do. Bias and discrimination in higher education can corrupt the learning environment and undermine the effectiveness of the curriculum.

If you are a part of a higher education institution, it’s especially important to be able to recognize when such discrimination is occurring so you can put a stop to it. Here are three forms of educational bias you should watch out for that can make your institution toxic.

Viewpoint Discrimination

Heterodoxy is defined as dissenting or different from the mainstream. To properly understand the challenges felt by those struggling with heterodoxic viewpoints, it's critical to understand the power of worldview. Your worldview is built into your personality often as a series of lessons from people you love and respect.

Your parents, teachers, mentors, and pastors may have all been involved in shaping your worldview or personal orthodoxy. If someone comes along and pulls on your worldview, trying to get you to see things from another viewpoint, this will cause discomfort and may result in offense, outrage, and fear.

Demographic Discrimination

The history of Title IX in the United States was, initially, a heterodoxic message against the status quo and was fought by multiple organizations, including the NCAA. However, Title IX was upheld by the courts and has come to cover much more than educational funding.

Sexual harassment and employment discrimination are also covered under Title IX. In short, Title IX violations cover much more than admissions and athletic funding. In general, the rules of Title IX have been used to protect women.

Inflexibility as Dogma

One of the challenges in reviewing the Title IX suit against Harvard is that the suit carries heavy racial overtones. Title VII, the Civil Rights Act, is the umbrella that covers issues of racial discrimination. However, in any case of accused rape or sexual assault, there is nearly always an issue of sexual discrimination.

The origins of Title IX legislation were directed at protecting women from sexual discrimination and to guarantee equitable funding in federally funded programs for females of all ages. Initially, most of these lawsuits were tied to educational funding for athletic programs, though the application of Title IX has expanded.

The application of Title IX in the Harvard lawsuit claims that the student denied access to Harvard for four semesters was discriminated against for his gender after an allegation of sexual assault. As the majority of sexual assault victims are female and the majority of the accused is male, the application of Title IX to this punishment may be a game-changer on college campuses and elsewhere.

Final Thoughts

Whatever educational institution you are a part of, it’s important to make sure that educational bias does not make the environment toxic. Everyone deserves to feel comfortable and respected. Making sure that you are aware of any toxicity that is happening and learning how to combat it will help your institution to have a much better environment for everyone.

If your educational institution has a bad culture that needs fixing, we can help! Contact us today to take advantage of our educational consulting services!

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