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the new campus minority

By Rachel Alexander
Arizona Daily Wildcat
February 25, 1999
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Arizona Daily Wildcat

While discrimination and hatred based on ethnic and sexual categories is zealously rooted out in our universities, intolerance towards conservatives and the suppression of conservative political thought is considered normal behavior.

As a result, few students dare to put forth conservative views, realizing that to do so means rebuke by the so-called "intellectual elite" - those enlightened students and faculty who know that modern-day liberalism is the only true way.

This "intellectual elite" comprises most of academia. University faculties have become almost monolithically liberal. A recent survey of college campuses revealed that the top universities, Dartmouth and Cornell, employed 25 Democratic professors for every one Republican professor.

Some departments were worse than others; a study comparing the history departments of Stanford, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Cornell, and Dartmouth found that there were a combined total of 3 Republican professors, compared to 110 Democrat professors.

Law schools have even more lop-sided faculty ratios. Most have either one "token" conservative on the faculty or none at all. Robert Bork, President Reagan's failed Supreme Court nominee who was kept off the court for ideological reasons, was for years the only conservative on the faculty at Yale Law School. When he supported the addition of a second conservative law professor to the faculty, he was told that two conservative law professors would exceed the allowed "quota" for conservatives. After much pressure, a second conservative was finally accepted to the faculty.

It is unclear why the make-up of university faculties is almost exclusively liberal. Even some of the most politically-charged fields in the humanities attract as many conservative applicants as they do liberals, so it is not for a lack of trying. When Peter Berkowitz was denied tenure last year at Harvard's Department of Government by Harvard President Neil Rudenstine, against the recommendations of Berkowitz's government department colleagues, everyone suspected it was because of his conservative reputation.

Professor Harvey Mansfield, a respected tenured colleague of Berkowitz's, observed, "Political theory attracts as many conservatives as it does liberals, but that has little to do with who gets the jobs."

He acknowledged, "I would be the only conservative out of four junior faculty and six senior faculty, but even to have one out of ten-that's very unusual." One of the leading thinkers of the libertarian right, Roger Pilon from the Cato Institute, a prestigious think tank, has tried in vain for years to obtain a position on the faculty at Georgetown University Law School. Pilon's intellectual reputation and career achievements - which include degrees from Columbia and Chicago, professorships at various law schools, testifying regularly before Congress, and a highly respected extensive collection of published works - far outshine the resumes of more than a few law professors at Georgetown's law school, yet Pilon is not wanted there because of his views.

Guess they already have their quota of conservative law professors filled.

Recently someone said they would never take a class at the University of Arizona's College of Law taught by Chief Justice Rehnquist because they hated his views. If conservatives thought the same way, they could not even take a full load of courses at the law school, since it is mysteriously lacking in conservative faculty.

The make-up of overwhelmingly liberal faculties is reflected in the curricula. While classes reflecting the interests of conservatives, such as "Modern Conservative Thought" - usually the token modern conservative course at most universities - are scant, there are hundreds of classes offered that reflect the views of today's liberals, such as classes on diversity (offered only from a left-wing perspective), sexuality, and women (reflecting only the feminist perspective).

Similarly, most law schools offer a wide selection of classes on feminism and multiculturalism in the law from a left-wing perspective, but none on say, the strict constructionist philosophy of Antonin Scalia and Justice Thomas, or the history and problems associated with judicial activism.

Considering the make-up of our country is evenly split between liberals and conservatives, this one-sided selection of courses from the liberal viewpoint reveals a dangerous trend towards gross conformity of thought.

Attempts by conservatives to enter the intellectual debate have often met with outright censorship and even violence. Conservative student newspapers have been stolen, and even burned on the Cornell campus with snickering faculty approval. This cowardly way of refusing to entertain opposing viewpoints says a lot about the Left's respect for free speech.

The faculty and course offerings on U.S. campuses do not reflect the diversity of thought across America. In the land of the free, why is there so little academic freedom on university campuses? As history has shown, the suppression of free speech leads to groupthink and fascism.