Monday, January 30, 2006

Intellectual Diversity on University Campuses

Some legislators in South Dakota are considering having the six state universities in that state to report periodically on their efforts towards achieving "intellectual diversity" on their campuses. Full article here.

What a great way to throw the lefties' own mantra back in their faces! Diversity is so all-emcompassing, so important that it's a "compelling state interest" that justifies affirmative action, that it's about time someone added intellectual diversity to skin color diversity. Put simply, the idea is to see if the English and Social Science Departments are 90% liberal and if there's any effort at all to have professors across the political spectrum.

Some would say that instructors' political views have no place in the classroom. Perhaps, but that's not reality anymore (if it ever was). And with tenure protections of university professors being even stronger than those of public school teachers, good luck getting rid of professors who politicize their classes, or even having them turn down their polemics.

Rep. Mike Buckingham, R-Rapid City, said the measure is not aimed at any political viewpoint.

“It’s not about liberal or conservative, and it is not an attack on the education system,” Buckingham said. “It is just an affirmation of what education could consist of.”

Hear hear!

"But wait!" you say. "You wrote previously that you talk politics with high school students all the time! You're being hypocritical!" No, silly goose, I'm not, and thank you for linking to another of my posts in your rant. =) I discuss politics sometimes, but I don't politicize my class. Students are not required to agree with me, nor are their grades at all affected by their beliefs. And based on many of these conversations, I doubt I have students afraid to share their ideas because they differ with mine!

But back to the South Dakota proposal. Here's more on it from the first link above:

HB1222 would require each institution under control of the Board of Regents to report annually to the Legislature “on steps the institution is taking to ensure intellectual diversity and the free exchange of ideas.” It defines intellectual diversity as “the foundation of a learning environment that exposes students to a variety of political, ideological and other perspectives.”

HB1222 says the reports may include steps taken by each institution to:

* Conduct a study to assess the current state of intellectual diversity on its campus.

* Incorporate intellectual diversity into institutional statements, grievance procedures and activities on diversity.

* Encourage a balanced variety of campus-wide panels and speakers and annually publish the names of panelists and speakers.

* Establish clear campus policies that ensure that hecklers or threats of violence do not prevent speakers from speaking.

* Include intellectual diversity concerns in the institution’s guidelines on teaching.

* Include intellectual diversity issues in student course evaluations.

* Develop hiring, tenure and promotion policies that protect individuals against political viewpoint discrimination and track any reported grievances.

* Establish clear campus policies to ensure freedom of the press for students and report any incidents of student newspaper thefts or destruction.

* Establish clear campus policies to prohibit political bias in student-funded organizations.

* Eliminate speech codes that restrict the freedom of speech.

* Create an institutional ombudsman on intellectual diversity.

Where did they get the ideas for these multiple suggestions? Why, these problems have all occurred at campuses across the country, usually with conservatives on the short end of the stick. Check out the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education for stories that'll sicken you, or watch Brainwashing 101 (link here). Liberal bias in academia is not a problem I'm making up.

Perhaps, if California had such a system in place as South Dakota is contemplating, UCLA wouldn't be having the problem of having conservative alumni resorting to "outing" ultra-liberal professors.


rightwingprof said...

I teach business. I cannot entirely avoid politics, particularly political issues that touch on economics, outsourcing, etc. My policy is this:

My students have no idea what my personal political stances are, save for those I can't avoid -- you just can't make the case that regulation is good for business. Any other relevant issue that comes up, I let my students freely discuss it, without leading from me. In fact, in class, I usually play devil's advocate with all sides of an issue.

Now, after the semester is over, I have students who come see me, and if they want to talk politics, I will.

Thing is, many of my students are active in the College Republicans or YAF, two places where I'm well known, and many of my current students have heard what my politics are. But they get no indication in the classroom.

It works pretty well, and I have the reputation of being fair.

The Triumvirate said...

Too bad none of my liberal professors are willing to be so discrete. I'm a political science major, so on some level, politics are unavoidable, but when you spend the first 10-15 minutes of every day on your prof's interpretation of world events, it gets a little tedious.
-The Quartermaster