Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Intellectual Pluralism

Nat Hentoff is shining a spotlight on academic freedom and diversity of ideas (what a concept!):

Selective definitions of "diversity" can exclude some of its vital meanings. On college campuses, for obvious example, the goal of "diversity" has most urgently been focused on racial diversity. But at last, leaders of the higher-education establishment -- headed by the American Council on Education -- have finally recognized the fundamental basis for all education is diversity of ideas.
The present domination by liberal opinion on many college faculties (often verging on this majority's intolerant orthodoxies) was revealed in a recent study, "Politics and Professional Advancement among Faculty," by Stanley Rothman, emeritus professor of government at Smith College; S. Robert Lichter, a professor of communications at George Mason University; and Neil Nevitte, a political science professor at the University of Toronto.
As summarized in the June 24-26 New York Sun, the result of this study, confirmed in previous reports in the widely respected, nonpartisan weekly, the Chronicle of Higher Education, reveals that campus liberal professors "outnumber conservatives 5-to-1. It also concludes that conservatives get worse jobs than liberals."
In some of these classrooms, conservative students are intimidated into silence, ignored or occasionally ridiculed. Accordingly, although belatedly, the June 23 "Statement of Academic Rights and Responsibilities," led by the American Council on Education, may finally awaken college trustees and alumni to the degree of indoctrination instead of free inquiry that characterizes much of higher education, particularly in the more elite institutions.

Read it all. This is a subject that is near and dear to my heart, having been on the faculties of UCLA, University of Wisconsin, University of Texas and the University of Michigan. Previous posts about this issue (I really need to get a better indexing system!):

Liberal Groupthink
Festering Bias
Report from the Academic Front
Academic Freedom vs. Academic Accountability
Academic Groupthink
Life in Academia: Who are we to judge Saddam Hussein?
The Bizarro World of Academia
Mocking the Minions of the Left's Intellectual Elite

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