Conservative Faculty

At least some students at Georgetown University want more conservative faculty.  Mark Judge at Acculturated (also published on NRO) reports on an editorial in the official student newspaper, the Hoya:

Instead, they make a straightforward case that the dearth of conservative professors at Georgetown is leaving students unprepared for the genuine diversity—that is, the diversity of thought—that is part of the real world. Georgetown’s homogeneity, they argue, is leading to an atrophying of their skills for debate and reasoned argument. In other words, without conservatives, they have no one to test their ideas against.

They also review the evidence that that there are fewer conservative faculty members.  The Hoya, Mark, and NRO are all correct to say this but they miss the big structural problems that make diversifying faculty so hard.  The structural problems might be organized as graduating, teaching, and publishing.

Most faculty positions require a terminal degree, usually a Ph.D., and that is what we mean by graduating.  To get a terminal degree you write a thesis and that is largely controlled by your senior professor.  Graduating provides a bigger challenge if you are a conservative because few of those senior professors are.

Faculty members need to teach.  The problem is that the curriculum is controlled by folks who are not conservatives.  Thus we have Peace Studies

Sidebar: Here is the search for Peace Studies: http://search.privacysearch.net/q=cGVhY2Ugc3R1ZGllcw==&b=PC_80801124&qpt=na
It is one example of how new leftist programs are crowding out traditional, and often, more conservative programs.  End Sidebar.

and many otherprograms that designed by and staffed by the Left.  We talked to a military historian (we don’t know if he was a conservative but we suspect it) who said he had to leave because there was nothing for him to teach.  One data point is limited evidence but all of the programs suggest the problem more strongly.

Publishing is one of the things faculty need to do to get promoted.  Specifically, they need to publish at a level appropriate for their school.  Major programs require “A hits” while comprehensives like our school are less impressed by prestige but require that you be active in reasonable journals.  It is our judgment that leftist oriented journals have flourished to provide more outlets for them.  We were happy to see them (leftists) succeed because it was good for the department and the college.  There have been a couple of instances where folks have got a joke article published in those journals.  So there is concern about the intellectual quality of such journals but more troubling is the report by Andy Ngo in Quillette about an article, The Case For Colonialism, by associate professor Bruce Gilley in Third World Quarterly (TWQ).  It seems to us that the author was pointing out the obvious when:

[Bruce] argues that nations who embraced and built on their Western colonial legacy, for example, Singapore, have fared better than those who followed anti-colonial nationalist ideologies.

Instead, Bruce created a firestorm.  There were 17,000 signatures from two petitions and 15 resignations from the TWQ editorial board.  Seriously! You must read the whole thing.  Andy leads with the most astonishing part:

An academic journal [TWQ]l that published a controversial article making a case for Western colonialism has withdrawn the piece after its editor received “serious and credible threats” of violence.

Bruce is lucky to be an associate professor as associate usually indicates tenure, but he might remain one for a long time as publications will be hard to come by.

Bruce’s situation is exactly why conservatives are not drawn to academia and exactly why it is difficult for them to survive.  The Hoya is right about the need for diversity but it will take more than student editorials to bring more conservatives into the faculty ranks.

 

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Due Process And Academics

Daniel Henninger discusses how the Trump administration through Betsy DeVos have stopped the attempt of the previous administration to end due process for people accused of rape at universities.  He asks the crucial question:

One has to ask: How in 2011 did this rule roll out of the Obama Education Department and become the law of the land in academia without so much as a peep of outrage from them or the American press?  [Emphasis added]

We often ask about them, academics, without much success.  Why did we as academics give the rights of free people away?  It is easy to see why we have no political clout when we fail to do what we are trained to do.  We are trained to think and reason about events.  Yet when this outrage happened generally we were elsewhere.  Daniel only slightly overstates the case when he says that there wasn’t a peep of outrage.

Update/Sidebar: Justin Dyer, from the much maleigned University of Missouri, makes a spirited defense of Scott Yenor at Boise State.  It is about the right to approach cultural issues academically rather than rape but it is a rare example of two academics being serious despite the pressure applied to them by administrators and others.  As Justin concludes: “The intellectual winds blowing in Idaho are ominous.”  End Update/Sidebar.

Thus, we, academics, are taken for granted by the left and properly not respected by the right.  We deserve our fate in the state legislatures.

Never Sorry On The Left

Jim Geraghty in The Morning Jolt provides a summary showing how free speech exists for the Left.  He reports:

A lot of right-of-center sports fans don’t particularly like Jamele Hill, the co-host of the 6 p.m. Sportscenter on ESPN, who tweeted Monday that “Donald Trump is a white supremacist who has largely surrounded himself w/ other white supremacists.”
Late last night, she issued the statement: “My comments on Twitter expressed my personal beliefs. My regret is that my comments and the public way I made them painted ESPN in an unfair light. My respect for the company and my colleagues remains unconditional.”

Think about how everyone spent eight years criticizing any mild comment about The Donald’s immediate predecessor.  Mentioning his middle name was verboten.  Now we have The Donald being accused of not just a being racist but a white supremacist surrounded by other white supremacists.  We would like to know who Jamele thinks they are.  Perhaps it is Betsy DeVos who is helping to reinstate due process at colleges for folks accused of rape and provide educational opportunities for inner city children.

Then there is Jamele’s statement.  It sure isn’t an apology.  We’re unsure as to why she thinks they painted ESPN in an unfair light.  She should show her love for ESPN because they didn’t fire her.  We don’t want Jamele fired but we didn’t want Curt Schilling fired either.  After that ESPN said:

ESPN is an inclusive company,” ESPN said in a statement. “Curt Schilling has been advised that his conduct was unacceptable and his employment with ESPN has been terminated.”

ESPN can fire folks as they see fit.  We don’t want to boycott them but their programming is less interesting lately so we watch less of it and rarely visit their website.  We would like them and the press to have some consistency in these situations but that isn’t going to happen.  Jamele deserves the same as Curt under ESPN’s criteria.  We don’t have a solution but it is easy to see why they are in financial trouble and perhaps the market will provide that solution.  Insulting half your audience is never a good idea for a mass marketer.  Doing it at a time when it is easy to cut the cord seems like bad business.  It will take the market awhile but ESPN and Disney will get a response for their behavior.  We do love markets.

Profile In Courage

Aaron Hedlund has an article on conservative tax reform at NRO.  Two interrelated facts make the article notable.  First, Aaron is an assistant professor.  Typically, assistant professor denotes somebody without tenure.  At most schools, but not ours, tenure and promotion to associate professor are linked.  The second fact is that he is at the University of Missouri- Columbia.  Yes, that University of Missouri campus.

Aaron shows real courage to come out and say:

Finally, Republicans must take the social-justice fight to the Democrats. Liberals love discussions of “tax fairness” because it gives them a platform to divide Americans and to engage in class warfare. Democrats believe that collective society has a moral claim to every American’s income, and they would empower politicians to determine how much money somebody should be allowed to earn.

Do read the whole thing.  It is a good overview of what needs to be done.  The problem is that tax reform, like other political problems, will come down to difficult choices.  Are you willing to only reduce corporate rates and leave individuals alone? There will be choices and we need to recognize what is a debate and what is an actual choice.  We won’t get everything but we should argue like Aaron suggests.

His courage shows that universities are not quite the monolithic bastions of left that many think.  On the other hand, there is no doubt that he has risked his career by coming out.  It is good for universities in general and particularly his university to show everyone the diversity that exists.

The Market Strikes Back

The College Fix reports (h/t: Best Of The Web) that Evergreen State in Washington has a $2.1 budget shortfall.  Evergreen State is notorious for its behavior last year related to its Day of Absence.  If you missed it the Fix article has details.  The financial details are even more interesting:

In an Aug. 28 memo to the campus community titled “Enrollment and Budget Update,” officials report that fall 2017-18 registration is down about 5 percent, from 3,922 students to 3,713. But the problem is nearly all of the students they lost are nonresidents, who traditionally pay a much higher tuition to attend, officials explained in the memo, a copy of which was obtained by The College Fix. [Emphasis added]

At Evergreen State, like almost any four-year state university, out-of-state students support in-state students.  According to Evergreen State:

Evergreen’s tuition is about $6,700 per year for Washington state residents and about $24,000 per year for nonresidents.

Attracting and retaining out-of-state students is a critical budget item for for many if not most state schools.  The reason is that in-state tuition is somewhere near the marginal cost of education but out-of-state tuition is much higher than the marginal cost.  Is is easy to see why as the $17,300 per student difference times approximately 200 students (see bold above) would be almost $3.5 million.  As the budget shortfall is $2.1 million we would suggest that nearly all bolded in the first quote above might be an overstatement.

It is hard to be sure that Evergreen and the University of Missouri are being punished for their behavior.  It does look likely that that is the case for Evergreen because the out-of-state students are in demand and they can go almost anywhere for similar prices. It looks like the market is offering advice to state schools.  Will they take it?

 

Amy Wax And Heather Mac Donald

Over at the NRO Corner, Heather Mac Donald has a nice summary of the attempts to lynch Amy Wax.  Amy Wax and Larry Alexander published an op-ed on the breakdown of bourgeois culture that led to Amy and Larry being called lots of names.  If you haven’t read the Amy and Larry’s op-ed you should.

Sidebar One: The treatment of Amy provides a strong case for tenure.  Amy is a tenured professor at the University of Pennsylvania Law School.  End Sidebar One.

Amy and Larry have share arguments and treatment with Charles Murray.  See here for Southern Poverty Law Center’s (SPLC) hit piece on Charles.  And here is his charming response to the vile name calling by SPLC.

Sidebar Two: When we searched “Charles Murray,” here are partial entries of the first three outcomes after the ads and unconnected items that clutter up the search.
SPLC: using racist pseudoscience
SHAME Profile:Charles Murray is one of the most influential right-wing ideological architects of the post-Reagan era. His career began in a secret Pentagon counterinsurgency
Salon: Big government has created a new lower class of lazy, shifty, low-IQ folks,
A free research project is to investigate the outcomes of search engines when searching political folks.  Do you get equally negative outcomes for progressives?  End Sidebar Two.

Heather concludes with the critical issue:

Now the question is: Where is the rest of the faculty? Rather than taking the safe position of supporting free speech (which the dean has done), how about if someone actually rebuts the charge that to call for a restoration of bourgeois values is to endorse “white supremacy”?

Universities become political piñatas because of the behavior of faculty and administrators.  Both faculty and administrators should be advocates for free speech and academic freedom.  Amy’s dean is doing the minimum.  How come he doesn’t have 100 percent support from the faculty and other administrators?  In addition, some need to have the courage to make reasoned judgments about content.  It is, exactly, what we as faculty are expected to do.  Signing a letter is not a reasoned judgment.  Neither is name calling.

Universities are dying because of our lack of courage.  They are dying first because we get no political support.  We are dying secondly because we don’t work on our mission.  We need to do better.  The actions of the other faculty is enough to make you wonder why we have tenure.  If only one tenured faculty member is willing to stand up to X.  What do we call X?  Fascists seems trite.  We don’t need to agree with Amy but we do need to apply our skills to her assertions.

Hide The Facts!

Michael Barone takes issue with William Saletan’s ideas on manipulating people by hiding facts at the Weekly Standard.  Michael asks:

Should accurate facts be suppressed because stating them will “do a lot of harm”? Yes, writes the thoughtful William Saletan in The Weekly Standard, if the facts are about “racial differences on intelligence tests.”

Michael, appropriately, takes issue with William but he kindly identifies him as thoughtful.  Michael is full of kindness.  In that way it is similar to the memo James Damore wrote.  We expect the same response.  First, Michael says:

[William] seems to assume that if you just don’t write about the well-documented racial differences on intelligence tests, people won’t know they exist. This is just nonsense.

Nonsense is being kind.

[William’s] second assumption is that if people, even smart people, do somehow manage to learn this inconvenient fact, they’re necessarily going to use it to judge individuals. That they’re going to assume that everyone scores about the same as their group’s average, or that no member of the group scores above it.

And I think that’s just wrong too.

It doesn’t matter.  It doesn’t matter if smart people make the wrong judgments.  It doesn’t matter if average people make the wrong judgments.  It doesn’t matter if stupid people make the wrong judgments.  It doesn’t matter if people with with poor math skills make bad judgments.  It doesn’t matter if Neo-Nazis or Antifa members make bad judgments.  It doesn’t matter that some folks are going to make judgments on their own.  Once you start thinking your responsibility is to hide evidence from the public then you start to do all sorts of weird things and lose your standing.  A general example is the the problems of MSM.  A specific example is William.  You now know that he thinks it is his duty to hide the facts from fools like us.

Michael concludes with the real problem:

What it does undermine is the case for racial quotas and preferences. That case relies on the notion, as I put it at the beginning of my Washington Examinercolumn on Damore’s firing, that “a fair society [would] have exactly the same percentage of men and women, of whites and blacks and Hispanics and Asians, in every line of work and occupational category” and “that any divergence from these percentages must necessarily result from oppression.” That’s nonsense, in my view, and ordinary people are not racists or sexists to reject it.

Yup, that would be the only reason to try to obscure the facts.  And, as Michael kindly says, it is nonsense.