St Andrews sets compulsory bias test for university students
The bias tests involves asking students to acknowledge their 'personal guilt' to overcome 'unconscious bias'.
St Andrews university has introduced compulsory modules on sustainability, diversity and consent. Students will not be allowed to matriculate unless they “pass”.
The induction asks students to agree or disagree with statements including: “Acknowledging your personal guilt is a useful start point in overcoming unconscious bias.”
Students are marked incorrect should they tick “disagree”, and should they do so too many times they will fail.
Course questions also include: “Does equality mean treating everyone the same?” Those who respond yes are told: “That’s not right, in fact equality may mean treating people differently and in a way that is appropriate to their needs so that they have fair outcomes and equal opportunity.”
Another statement students are asked, and must “agree“ to pass, is: “It is important to think about and understand our own prejudices and stereotypes so we don’t treat someone else unfairly or inappropriately.” Other questions ask what year the university’s biodiversity strategy was approved and how long it takes to reach Dundee by bus.
The Times report that one St Andrews student, who did not want to be named, said forcing students to agree with opinions contradicted academic free speech. “I wasn’t happy with it, effectively you had to agree with what they’re saying and these statements weren’t factual things, these were opinions,” she said.
The university is one of a growing number insisting that students undertake training on subjects including anti-bullying and climate change. This has led some academics and free speech groups to warn that it's restricting free speech.