Monday, May 22, 2006

Diversity at the University of Oregon

Alexander Kleshchev is a mathematics professor at the University of Oregon. He immigrated to America in 1995.

Professor Kleshchev wrote an interesting piece in the local Eugene, Oregon, newspaper. In it he addresses the usual issues about the lack of conservatives on the UO faculty, and he does it in a way sure to infuriate lefties:

A study by a UO economist reveals that the Democrat-to-Republican ratio among UO professors exceeds 15 to 1. Given that the ratio in Oregon is close to 1 to 1, what could possibly explain this? The most staggering thing is that nobody cares. The typical response is: "Conservatives are just stupid." If you want to know how conservative people feel when they hear that, substitute "women" for "conservatives"...

Denial: "It doesn't matter whether professors are liberal or conservative because it does not influence what they teach." Response: Try, "It does not matter whether professors are black or white because it does not influence what they teach."

Denial: "Conservatives don't want to go into academia." Response: Substitute the word "women" to see what is wrong with this.

And I really like this quote:

A selectively bleeding heart is a known part of the human anatomy - we call it hypocrisy.

Did I mention that he's a math guy? =)


Anonymous said...

I'm new to this game so help me out here. Instead of playing word games, how about simply addressing the statement on its merits? What's wrong with the assumption that people with certain predispositions (I won't call them values, but something like that) wind up in different fields? It's obvious that someone who more of a numbers person than a words person would end up an accountant, an economist, or even a math teacher. So, without resorting to clever word games, why is it a stretch to think that those with predominantly liberal ideas would end up as university professors?

Even if being liberal was only a slight precursor, once you were in the system, then the social pressure to associate with those like you might lead to higher attrition among conservatives.

(Granted, 15:1 is a bit high, but given that there are thousands of universities, is 15:1 outside a standard deviation? I don't know, which is why I'm asking.)

So, is it conspiracy or just statistics?

(Hopefully not breaking your heart)

Garble said...

I really like this story. Thanks for the find.

Darren said...

Each time I read a story like this, the ratio (15:1 in this case) is always extreme. When we get like that with race, as in the ratios in Congress or the ratios of majority schoolteachers vs. minority students, it's always a sign of "institutional racism". But with political views in academe, it's OK.

I don't see how it can be both.

Please, don't take my Kodachrome away.

ellenweber said...

When faculty at universities speak openly about these issues but do not evidence the value of what they say by applying the best parts so students can experience ideas in concrete ways... the concepts get lost. Diversity has been lost on many campuses because of what has been said but not practiced. What do you think? How might we show more of the value of which we speak by evidencing it in our lives?

rightwingprof said...

I get a little nervous when the political affiliations of faculty come up -- because I don't want to see some kind of ideology test (I didn't think I'd ever be caught repeating an AAUP talking point). There already is one, of course, though not official. But I guess the point is if faculty are doing what they're supposed to be doing instead of turning their classes into leftist brainwashing seminars, it shouldn't make any difference at all, should it?

There are more of us than you may thing. However, we aren't stupid, so we tend to keep our mouths shut -- in the classroom and out.

Darren said...

I don't believe in ideological litmus tests, either. My point here, though, was to point out the (get ready for it, here it comes) inconsistency of the left in not addressing the obvious institutional bias against conservatives the way they address what they see as institutional biases against anyone who's not a white male.

They can't have it both ways.

Oh, and rightwingprof? Follow the leftie advice and come out of the (conservative) closet!