Paul L. Caron

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

The 'Intellectual Diversity' Crisis That Isn't: Liberal Faculties, Conservative Victims, And The Cynical Effort To Undermine Higher Education For Political Gain

Sean Kammer (South Dakota; Google Scholar), The 'Intellectual Diversity' Crisis that Isn't: Liberal Faculties, Conservative Victims, and the Cynical Effort to Undermine Higher Education for Political Gain, 39 Quinnipiac L. Rev. 149 (2021):

The heated political climate of the past decade has placed higher education squarely under attack at the front lines of the ideological culture wars. Amidst claims that public universities are disproportionately populated by left-leaning faculty with a purported agenda to “indoctrinate” students with liberal thoughts and ideas, several states have considered, and in some cases passed, legislation purportedly aimed at enhancing the “intellectual diversity” of college campuses, including among faculties. Part II of this article places these efforts within a wider historical context, one in which conservatives (and some non-conservatives) have successfully framed universities as failing to foster a robust “marketplace of ideas” in contravention of their core mission, thereby leaving universities and their faculties vulnerable to recent political efforts to undermine academic freedom.

Part III of the article analyzes what “intellectual diversity,” honestly defined, means within the context of higher education, a definition that notably contrasts sharply with what university critics mean when they purposefully, and disingenuously, deploy the term to frame the debate in a way that aids their true cause. Part IV demonstrates that the claims and “problems” that underlie the attack on higher education are unfounded, and that the proposed solutions are misguided and dangerous.

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