‘Dangerous Levels of Intolerance’: Georgetown Student Newspaper Calls for Hiring Conservatives

Mark Judge | September 28, 2017
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The Hoya, the official student newspaper of Georgetown University, is calling for more conservative professors on campus. 

A September 22 editorial by the paper's editorial board observes: 

One of the hallmarks of higher education is the opportunity to understand and grapple with a wide range of ideas. Yet, Georgetown falls short on its commitment to this ideological diversity in the makeup of its instructional corps. The university must work to remedy its lack of politically conservative professors by considering a diversity of viewpoints when hiring instructors, from assistant professors to those with tenure, and by ensuring that no bias exists against conservative educators in the hiring process.

The editorial cites a 2016 article in the Wall Street Journal by John Hasnas, who argued that Georgetown faculty search committees blackball conservative candidates. The Hoya also cites the Higher Education Research Institute, whose reports have shown what even the Washington Post called "a dramatic shift" in recent years of faculty to the left. In 1990, 42 percent of college professors identified as liberal or far-left, according to the HERI survey data; by 2014, that figure had risen to nearly 60 percent, while only 12 percent of professors identified as conservative.

The Hoya editorial concludes:

A robust exchange of ideas requires students and faculty to have the greatest possible variety of backgrounds, to expose ourselves to myriad viewpoints. Only by having our views challenged can we refine our own stances, learn how to best justify our arguments and hone our critical thinking abilities.

Moreover, the absence of true ideological diversity on our campus is problematic for all students. Allowing one specific political ideology a monopoly on our campus can foster dangerous levels of intolerance for contradictory beliefs. The results of permitting such ideological homogeneity have been witnessed at college campuses nationwide, including at Middlebury College, where violent protests erupted in response to a speech by author Charles Murray, and at the University of California, Berkeley, which has become a battleground for free expression.

The imbalance of ideological diversity in our faculty disadvantages students of all political persuasions: Liberal students fall into the trap of groupthink, while conservative students feel alienated by the absence of faculty supportive of their political ideals. Both sides lack an adequate model of reasonable, academic, respectful debate that professors often provide for their students, leading us to become more entrenched in our own ideas instead of learning how to disagree reasonably.

During a speech at Georgetown Law School on Tuesday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said political correctness has transformed academic spaces "into an echo chamber of political correctness and homogeneous thought." He cited the cancelling of speaking events due to fear of protests as an example, referring to such incidents as a "heckler's veto."

"This is not right," he said. "This is not in the great tradition of America. And, yet, school administrators bend to this behavior. In effect, they coddle it and encourage it."

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