Colleges Are Diversifying? Not Exactly


April 5, 2016
by Susan Dutca
Colleges and universities have started to increase diversity amongst their student body and now, even their faculty. Or so they claim. There may be an increase in female and minority faculty, but according to one professor, there's one political group that just doesn't make the cut.

Colleges and universities have started to increase diversity amongst their student body and now, even their faculty. Or so they claim. There may be an increase in female and minority faculty, but according to one professor, there's one political group that "just doesn't make the cut".

The Higher Education Research Institute reports that only 12 percent of university faculty are right-leaning in their political views and identification. Most of these outliers are in engineering and similar professional schools. Only 5 percent of professors in the humanities and social sciences are right-of-center. In his article "The One Kind of Diversity Colleges Avoid" for the Wall Street Journal, Georgetown University Professor John Hasnas recounts seeing committees blatantly deny libertarian candidates, changing the description of the job position "when the best resumes appeared to be coming from applicants with right-of-center viewpoints," or even "dismissing candidates because of their association with conservative or libertarian institutions." While higher education institutions are reporting increased diversity, candidates who do not identify with the left-leaning majority are dismissed in a process that employs a political discrimination with which they are apparently more than comfortable.

Hasnas poses an important question: why limit diversity increase initiatives to genetic, cultural, or ethnic backgrounds? Sure, recruiting female and minority professors great in itself, but it can "perpetuate the left-wing stranglehold on the academy" when it belittles conservative and libertarian scholarship and only finds merit "with positions that are consistent with theirs."

Why might your professors' political ideologies matter? For one, a "diverse academic environment better prepares students for an increasingly diverse workforce," so why not include political diversity? Secondly, your education is coming from only one political perspective - how are you supposed to "pursue intellectual excellence," then? Dr. Lee Jussim, one of the founding members of Heterodox Academy touches on the many ways in which "leftwing politics distorts scholarship in the social sciences and humanities. From issues such as poverty in Africa to ISIS, "professors preach their anti-American judgements to students as 'final truths'... [they] represent their views and ideologies in ways that make it seemingly impossible for any reasonable person to disagree with. Essentially, if you don’t agree with "left-liberal thought" you're considered "ignorant, intolerant, and uneducated."

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Posted Under : College Culture , Scholarships

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Jake K.  on  5/29/2016 10:47:58 AM commented:

Professors are mostly liberal leaning? This is a surprise?

Sophia D  on  5/17/2016 7:23:09 PM commented:

Yes, thank you for writing this. I could give many examples of this, such as how it is strange to hear of theology professors who, as fits the liberal agenda, teach that God does not exist. The movie "God's Not Dead" has addressed this issue very well, although, unlike many political movies, they understate, rather than exaggerate, the problem, which strengthens their argument. Conservative Christian student "Josh" is threatened with a grade reduction for standing up for his religious beliefs against a liberal professor; students in real life are threatened with a withheld degree, and some are arrested. All in the name of liberal "diversity" - which now blocks free speech, as many mentioned.

Chuck S.  on  4/21/2016 10:26:57 AM commented:

It's sadly ironic to read through the comments posted by some who proudly proclaim themselves as liberals and realize that they are actively providing examples of the anti-diversity thinking that is at the core of the article. i.e. "I support all forms of diversity that align with my own narrow thinking".

Victoria S.  on  4/15/2016 11:07:14 AM commented:

schools should be super diverse because every culture and race has something different to offer to the world

Mel M.  on  4/13/2016 4:58:30 PM commented:

You're incorrect, most conservatives agree to teaching critical thought...use your brain, Putting ALL ideas on the table and allowing the student to debate, study, discern for themselves and NOT have liberal teaching shoved down their throat.

Mindy D.  on  4/12/2016 8:35:59 PM commented:

I am always amazed at how liberals tout diversity, tolerance and acceptance only with those who think/believe as they do, especially in the media and Hollywood.

Marina  on  4/12/2016 8:09:27 PM commented:

The preference is because most conservatives do not care to develop critical thinking skills versus their rigid religious and other beliefs, do not care to look at the real data, and therefore do not belong in school teaching young minds in their formation.

Sarah  on  4/12/2016 4:31:02 PM commented:

Elyles, I beg to differ. If a professor is discriminating against gay, female, etc. students that's one thing, but a professor should be allowed to calmly and professionally hold and discuss whatever views they please. There are currently professors in the US discriminating against Jews and spreading Nazi-esque propaganda as "history," yet since they fit into liberal politics, they are totally safe. Look into Columbia's staff if you don't believe me, as well as Oberlin, Reed, and numerous other colleges. Discrimination is one thing; holding controversial views is another, and the latter should be allowed to teach.

Elyles  on  4/6/2016 9:56:06 AM commented:

I think it has less to do with conscious discrimination against conservatives and more to do with the fact that Republican and conservative agenda is stereotypically associated with regressive and out-dated politics such as homophobia, racism, misogyny and generally close-mindedness. By definition, liberals seem more liberated and open to differing viewpoints. When it comes to academia, colleges are willing to err on the side of caution and accept or hire someone who seems more progressive and leading the charge into the future. Is this completely fair? No, but the image of the Republican party is incredibly problematic and destructive and the party desperately needs to realign itself.

ZCasavant  on  4/6/2016 2:21:40 AM commented:

Diversity is beautiful in every arena. Yes, there should be a close-to-equal ratio present, if this is possible! Thinking of diversity only in terms of physical attributes is, well, quite shallow!

Tim P.  on  4/5/2016 8:54:57 PM commented:

Students don't need to learn WHAT to think so much as HOW to think. Understanding opposing viewpoints is essential to fully understanding our own. I believe a better ideal would be for opposing sides to have their say, then let each individual student decide what they believe. Regardless of what some may say, both sides of an issue usually have some valid points. When we de-humanize people we know are wrong, how will we ever be able to show them what we know is right? Why are we afraid of letting differing views fight it out? Won't the truth have a firmer footing than misplaced assumptions? Won't what is right have the better chance of winning out if it can face the wrong head-on?

Lori M.  on  4/5/2016 5:50:33 PM commented:

Very interesting. Thankyou for the link to Heterodox Academy. I am very left- leaning, but colleges & universities should be about learning and discourse, not political correctness infringing on free speech.

Matthew E.  on  4/5/2016 5:28:33 PM commented:

I'm glad to see someone discuss this. As a republican I find it disheartening that many family members of mine have been declined entrance yet someone with a worse GPA and left leaning political views was accepted.

Kinneret K.  on  4/5/2016 5:16:04 PM commented:

Thanks for writing this! It's so important that we recognize the discrimination against conservatives on so many college campuses today. I know conservative students who switched colleges because they felt so uncomfortable with the lack of political diversity. That should not be tolerated.

Roby K  on  4/5/2016 5:01:35 PM commented:

It is important for our college professors to teach critical thinking skills for our next generation to succeed in life. Diversity of thought is a cornerstone to a growing mind. On many college campus today, new ideas are not permitted and dissenting views are frowned upon. Now, many campus have instituted "safe zones" where students will not have to listen to thought or speech that is different from their own views. That is not what college is all about - it should prepare students for the "real" world which is often not perfect, different from the student's ideal views and a world in which they will need to compete for jobs.

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