Hole in the Diversity Grail

, Malcolm A. Kline, Leave a comment

Academia is doubling down on diversity and on anyone who comes near it offering diverse thoughts.

condoleezza rice

A special supplement of The Chronicle of Higher Education features articles entitled:

  • “First-Generation at Georgetown—A broad support system helps students succeed among wealthier—and worldlier—classmates;”
  • “Undocumented at Berkeley—A special program at Berkeley gives young immigrants a pathway;”
  • “Navigating the Fafsa Wilderness—A U. of Buffalo professor’s project to help students fill out the complicated aid forms has helped more go to college;” and
  • “Helping Hispanic Students Beat the Odds.”

Worthy goals to be sure, at least those that don’t skirt U.S. immigration law. Nevertheless, as African-American economist Thomas Sowell has noted, “The next time some academics tell you how important diversity is, ask them how many Republicans there are in their sociology department.”

They can’t even handle them once a year at commencement exercises, let alone in a faculty chair. “Unsurprisingly, political disagreement plays a significant part in prompting disinvitation attempts,” the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) reports. “Instead of debating political differences, students and faculty are increasingly attempting to simply exclude speakers with whom they disagree. In fact, over 40% of disinvitation incidents have involved political officials. Of the 192 disinvitation attempts since 2000, 79 targeted speakers who served in a political position (elected or appointed) at the time of their disinvitation, or had previously done so. Of those 79 disinvitation incidents involving political officials, 23 were successful.”

“The data shows that speakers with perceived “conservative” viewpoints (which, as noted earlier, includes many speakers who might not self-identify as conservative) have faced a majority of the backlash. Successful disinvitations from the left of speakers are nearly double those from the right of speakers, with nearly triple the total number of disinvitation incidents.”

Moreover, these disinvitations went to VIPs who were invited to begin with. Not many conservatives receive such invitations from universities. Of 28 luminaries asked to give commencement addresses, mostly drawn from a list provided by The Business Insider, Accuracy in Academia found four nominal Republicans.

Since one of them was Condoleezza Rice, who withdrew from her commitment to speak at Rutgers, that ratio went down by a quarter. Don’t expect it to go up next year.

“For the first six years of the 2000s, disinvitation incidents averaged 7.5 per year,” FIRE reports. “From 2006–2008, the average jumped slightly to 11, and then to just under 18 per year from 2009–2011. Since 2012, the average number of disinvitation incidents has again risen, to nearly 25 per year. The average number of disinvitation incidents for one year within the 2012–2014 time frame is greater than the total number of disinvitation incidents from 2000–2002.”

“Disinvitation efforts are not new, but our research indicates that they are dramatically increasing.”