Campus D.E.I. Perpetuates “a Strong Political Orientation Bias”

(p. A24) The same week that a U.C. Berkeley protest ended in violence, with doors broken, people allegedly injured, a guest lecture organized by Jewish students canceled and attendees evacuated by the police through an underground passageway, a group of academics gathered across the bay at Stanford to discuss restoring inclusive civil discourse on campus. The underlying question: In today’s heated political environment, is that even possible?

. . .

Hosted by Stanford Law School and the Stanford Graduate School of Education, the conference brought together professors, deans and academic leaders who were largely liberal, with libertarians and a few conservatives and progressives in the mix. Unfortunately, one of the organizers told me, most of the invited progressives, which is to say the group that currently dominates campus debates, refused to come.

. . .

Amna Khalid, a historian at Carleton College, endorsed the goal of diversifying staffs. The problem isn’t principle or legality, she said; it’s practice. Diversity according to whom? And in what context?

“It’s always ‘historically excluded and underrepresented,’” she said. “But historically when? Conservatives could argue they have been historically excluded. What’s underrepresented at Hillsdale College will be different from what’s underrepresented in the U.C. system.”

“We all know that there’s a strong political orientation bias being perpetuated,” she continued. “‘Not a good fit,’ they’ll say. It’s fundamentally dishonest, and it creates more problems than it addresses.”

. . .

“What they want are non-straights, nonwhites and non-men,” said Musa al-Gharbi, a sociologist at Stony Brook University. “But they don’t say it that way. There’s a lack of forthrightness that breaks people in these situations.” In his field, men are underrepresented, and queer scholarship is overrepresented. “But it strains credulity to say that anyone would read a D.E.I. statement about someone’s queer work and say that’s an overrepresented group.”

For the full story, see:

Pamela Paul. “Civil Discourse on Campus Is Put to the Test.” The New York Times (Friday, March 8, 2024): A24.

(Note: ellipses added.)

(Note: the online version of the story has the date March 7, 2024, and has the same title as the print version.)

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