Campus Hostility Towards Political Diversity at UO
The University of Oregon (UO), where I study journalism, invested millions annually in a diversity program that explicitly included "political affiliation" as a component. Yet, out of the 111 registered Oregon voters in the departments of journalism, law, political science, economics, and sociology, there were only two registered Republicans.
A number of conservative students told me they felt Republican ideas were frequently caricatured and rarely presented fairly. Did the dearth of conservative professors on campus and apparent marginalization of ideas on the right belie the university's commitment to providing a marketplace of ideas?
In my column, published in the campus newspaper The Oregon Daily Emerald June 1, I suggested that such a disparity hurt UO. I argued that the lifeblood of higher education was subjecting students to diverse viewpoints and the university needed to work on attracting more conservative professors.
I also suggested that students working on right-leaning ideas may have difficulty finding faculty mentors. I couldn't imagine, for instance, that journalism that supported the Iraq war or gun rights would be met with much enthusiasm.
What I didn't realize is that journalism that examined the dominance of liberal ideas on campus would be addressed with hostility.
~From the Christian Science Monitor commentary, "Nearly All My Professors Are Democrats. Isn't That A Problem?"
From the original article in the UO student newspaper:
There needs to be movement - along with intellectual consistency - on the issue of political diversity by faculty and administrators. If queried, most professors would likely agree that a university with only 2-percent Democrats would be inadequate. However, when the discrepancy is in their favor, they appear uninspired to act.
As a student, I want a campus full of professors not only from different ethnic and racial backgrounds, but different political backgrounds as well. I want Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, Marxists, Independents and anyone with a halfway decent idea that doesn't incorporate hate. That's what true diversity means to me. I want that more than free football tickets, a new basketball arena or pretty much anything else a University could offer. In exchange for paying $20,000 in tuition a year, I think I deserve it. Don't you?
HT: Mike Munger