Lockstep “Diversity” in English
College faculties, long assumed to be a liberal bastion, lean further to the left than even the most conspiratorial conservatives might have imagined, a new study says.These numbers clearly understate the liberal bias of faculty, since in academia to call oneself a “moderate” and an “independent” is perfectly consistent with taking liberal positions on every issue under the sun, and always voting for the Democratic presidential candidate.
By their own description, 72 percent of those teaching at American universities and colleges are liberal and 15 percent are conservative, says the study being published this week. The imbalance is almost as striking in partisan terms, with 50 percent of the faculty members surveyed identifying themselves as Democrats and 11 percent as Republicans.
Further data in the survey confirm this point:
The liberal label that a majority of the faculty members attached to themselves is reflected on a variety of issues. The professors and instructors surveyed are, strongly or somewhat, in favor of abortion rights (84 percent); believe homosexuality is acceptable (67 percent); and want more environmental protection “even if it raises prices or costs jobs” (88 percent). What’s more, the study found, 65 percent want the government to ensure full employment, a stance to the left of the Democratic Party.Of course, the liberal bias, while pervasive, isn’t consistent across departments.
The most left-leaning departments are English literature, philosophy, political science and religious studies, where at least 80 percent of the faculty say they are liberal and no more than 5 percent call themselves conservative, the study says.Such findings, of course, show how dishonest the claim of politically correct faculty to believe in “diversity” is. Most certainly, they want more minorities, women in fields where women have traditionally been scarce, and more gays and lesbians. They claim to want this to represent “diverse viewpoints,” but in fact they want to hire people who are basically in agreement with them.
One can imagine a liberal academic explaining: “In our department we have eight liberals, one Old Left Marxist, two New Left Marxists, and one specialist in Queer Studies. What are we going to do to increase diversity? I know, we’ll hire an ecofeminist!”
Marquette’s English Department
Which brings us to a manifesto, printed this past December in the Tribune, in which an overwhelming majority of English Department faculty opposed a return to “Warriors” as the Marquette sports team nickname. The signers were:
Dr. Milton J. Bates, Dr. Amy Blair, Dr. M.C. Bodden, Dr. John Boly, Dr. Virginia Chappell, Dr. John Curran, Dr. Ed Duffy, Dr. Michael Patrick Gillespie, Dr. Paula Gillespie, Dr. Heather Hathaway, Dr. C.J. Hribal, Dr. Stephen Karian, Dr. Steven Hartman Keiser, Dr. Christine L. Krueger, Dr. Jodi Melamed, Dr. Rebecca Nowacek, Dr. Krista Ratcliffe, Dr. Angela Sorby, Dr. R. Clifton Spargo, Dr. John Su, Dr. Sarah Wadsworth & Dr. Amelia ZurcherIn other words, all but four of the Assistant, Associate and Full Professors in the Department signed the statement (based on the 2004-2005 Undergraduate Bulletin listing of faculty). Among the four who didn’t, at least some failed to sign for idiosyncratic reasons, or maybe just didn’t get the e-mail, which was sent out by a junior faculty member.
Opposing Indian Team names puts one among a tiny minority of sports fans nationally. A Sports Illustrated survey, reported in the March 4, 2002 issue of the magazine, found that 79% of sports fans nationally, and 83% of Indians nationally, felt teams should not drop Indian names. Thus the vast majority of English faculty are among the tiny minority of Americans who see anything wrong with Indian team names.
Most interesting is the fact that every Assistant Professor in the Department — and here we are talking about people who have to worry whether they will get tenure — signed on to the statement. Either some junior faculty are cowed, fearful that their tenure prospects will be hurt if they dissent, or being a politically correct leftist is an absolute qualification for being hired by the English Department these days, or only politically correct leftists go into English. All three of these possibilities are deplorable.
The English Department doubtless thinks it has struck a blow against racism and for “diversity,” but in fact it should be embarrassed because of the lock-step conformist group-think that prevails there.
Uniformity of opinion breeds intolerance, and it is certainly no accident that academia is now the least tolerant sector of American society. Lawrence H. Summers, President of Harvard University, found this out when he suggested the quite reasonable hypothesis that women are genetically less apt in math than men, and that this accounts for the paucity of women in the sciences.
(People not up-to-date on feminist ideology should know that it’s quite acceptable to posit that women are genetically superior to men in some respects. But suggest that it might also work the other way, and the banshees want your head on a pike.)
Thus students at Marquette have to wonder how much they risk if they should want to make a conservative argument in an English paper. And conservative students will have to think twice about majoring in a department where they know they will face a rigid and hostile orthodoxy.
The resulting self-selection will make English even more insular and monolithic, and compound the problem. But then, English faculty probably don’t see it as a problem.