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ODE Columnist Offers Up More On Ideological Diversity

A couple weeks ago I wrote a post about Dan Lawton’s research into political diversity at the UO. Well, Lawton penned an opinion piece for the Ol’ Dirty yesterday that expands on his original article.

Among the full-time faculty of the University departments of journalism, law, political science, sociology and economics, there are 111 registered Oregon voters. Two of them are Republicans.

[T]here were 98 Democrats, nine Independents, two Republicans and two members of the Pacific Green party staring back at me. Both of the two Republicans were in the School of Law, and one of them was University President Dave Frohnmayer.

Frohnmayer, you ol’ polecat! But seriously, you should read Lawton’s whole article. It’s an argument that we at the Commentator have voiced many a time: namely that a politically homogeneous faculty is doing a disservice to students who come here to be intellectually challenged.

  1. […] that often accompany identity politics have been covered elsewhere on this site, though, — and recently — so I won’t go into […]

  2. Sakaki says:

    Gives new meaning to the phrase, “take two of these and call me in the morning”.

  3. Sean says:

    Dudes, why are we complaining about a 3/2 ratio of girls to guys?

    Do I have to ask, “Know how I know you’re gay?”

  4. Timothy says:

    I’d think the 60/40 ratio would be reason enough.

  5. Chris says:

    I do agree, Vincent. It’s extremely difficult to hire on skills and experience alone because there’s always somebody who claims he/she wasn’t hired because of their gender/race/orientation.

    I loved your last comment. When I was applying to college, I read that the college college campus is 60/40 female to male. Does that mean we should enroll more males? No. Colleges should work to make their campus more attractive to males as an incentive to enroll instead of artificially altering their enrollment.

  6. Vincent says:

    To ensure an balance between liberal and conservative-mined staff members, we would have to hire professors on the basis of the political affiliation

    Isn’t this precisely what happens with regards to race/gender/sexual orientation/whatever in the name of “diversity” on a daily basis?

    The point is not that there are “too few conservative professors”*; The point is that there seems to be a double-standard at work. If “diversity” is as important as we’re told — and no chance is spared to reinforce the idea that it’s absolutely crucial to our educations — then certainly making an effort to recruit and retain people who, regardless of their skin color, religion, gender, or whatever, have different ideas about the world than 98% of all other faculty is something that should be high on the list of priorities.

    Wouldn’t you agree?

    * In my own experience, I’ve rarely found that the “diversity” background of a teacher makes a particular difference in class. I’ve had excellent professors and I’ve had rotten professors; whether they were an “underrepresented minority”** rarely seems to matter. Even in foreign language classes, I’ve not found that native speakers were necessarily superior to non-native instructors — some were excellent, others were disasters. What makes a difference is the individual instructor, not the racial, sexual, or religious collective to which they’re assigned by the purveyors of identity politics.

    ** Statistically speaking, males are an “underrepresented minority” in American Universities, at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. I don’t see too many people talking about that particular educational inequity, though. Make of it what you will.

  7. Timothy says:

    My experience with the econ faculty was, much to their credit, that their politics mattered very little. The only overtly political prof I can think of is Mark Thoma, and I can say without reservation that his class is exactly NOTHING like his blog. And his blog is his personal thing, and he’s a smart guy, so I’m glad it’s successful.

  8. Chris says:

    In general, academics are more liberal-minded. To ensure an balance between liberal and conservative-mined staff members, we would have to hire professors on the basis of the political affiliation, which is technically illegal.


  9. Sakaki says:

    In the marketplace of ideas, there’s always a fraud. And he ruins it for the rest of the marketplace.

  10. Anthony says:

    College is supposed to be a marketplace of ideas, would be great if that were actually true among the faculty.

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