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Journalism teacher says conservatives are Dixie-loving hicks

Journalism grad student Dan Lawton has a new post over at his blog with responses to his recent ODE opinion piece on the lack of ideological diversity on campus. The  responses are all very predictable (“There are no Republican professors because you have to be smart to be a professor. Hurr hurr hurr!”). But then you get to the comment from UO journalism teacher Dan Morrison, who is on the record as saying (emphasis added):

You may be very upset that the University of Oregon, which, I may point out, is funded by people who live in a liberal state, and therefore, no surprise, tends to be liberal, attracts professor applying for a job who tend to be liberal. But as a student you have a choice. You do not have to come here. You most certainly can choose to spend your money to go to school in Alabama, or Texas, or Mississippi, or Georgia, or Louisiana or South Carolina.  And if you like conservatism, you can certainly attend the University of Texas, and you can walk past the statue of Jefferson Davis every day on your way to class.

Whoa, whoa, hold on. Full stop. Really? I don’t know where Morrison gets off, but the last time I checked, being conservative does not mean one is some sort of neo-Confederate. In fact, that’s a fairly disgusting and disingenuous statement to make. Way to really raise the level of discourse there, tiger. Of course, maybe Morrison has just been yukking it up with his UO colleagues so long that he doesn’t realize everyone’s not an effete, latte-sipping pinko. (Do you see how that works?)

Second, perhaps some of us can’t afford out-of-state tuition. Perhaps some of us simply want a decent education at the state’s supposed “flagship university.” And as a “flagship university” or a “hot brand” or whatever the UO’s touting itself as these days, maybe we’re upset because we’re paying to sit in class and listen to pious, liberal professors tell us how evil cars/Bush/guns are instead of trying to provide us with an actual education.

P.S. I forgot to mention: Lawton challenged Morrison to an open debate of the subject, which Morrison declined.

  1. C.T. Behemoth says:

    It would be interesting to do a historic timeline with events/years on the X axis and ‘liberty’ on the Y axis. I’m not sure how we’d qualify the degrees of liberty, but it would be fun to see.

    You could add a Z for hypocrisy as well, based on current attitudes.

  2. Vincent says:

    Will be back tomorrow.

    I’m sure I speak for everyone when I say that we’re all eagerly awaiting your next post. Perhaps we’ll learn how Jefferson Davis was a real family man around the ol’ plantation and saved cute little kittens from burning buildings. You know… when he wasn’t off defending slavery and babbling about how much he loved “liberty.”

  3. olly says:

    Matt: “But if it happens to turn out (and maybe it doesn

  4. George says:


    Exactly. And the reference to welding, the answer is no, it creates 4 plates welded together. A welder or a fitter who has a poor command of a language and math some drafting and print reading is simply not going to go very far in the field of welding. I speak from first hand experience.

    History is much the same; you cannot argue the cause of the north without at least having a good understanding of the true cause of the South, and that is what brings me here. I was sent this article about Dixie loving hicks. I can post to this board many people who are far from hicks who have connections to the Confederacy and helped make this country the great nation it is.

    Johnny was way off base as he tried to make any comparison to Jeff Davis, political parties and the Confederacy. In my opinion this is due to one sided biased teaching. Had Johnny received the benefit of an open minded teacher he might have known how that Lincoln abused the constitution as a republican just as Obama has abused the constitution as a democrat. He may have known that Lincoln is the father of a huge central government. He may have known that Davis gave the United States many years of service and because he led the Confederacy doesn’t mean he hated the US.

    I am off for the evening. Will be back tomorrow.

  5. C.T. Behemoth says:

    What if you welded two metal plates to another two metal plates…doesn’t that create one big metal plate?

    Stupid questions aside, I think that what we’re asking here is that people have their own beliefs/opinions, but that they step outside of them in the classroom whether they are a student or a teacher. That way, they can engage all sides of an issue and come out of the class better off for having taken it.

    I could be wrong.

  6. George says:


    I understand your point, and

  7. George says:

    So what does Hitler have to do with anything??? Is that the best example you can come up with?

  8. Matt says:

    Like a poli-sci degree ever got anyone a job.

    My point exactly. That’s why it’s perfectly fine if not extremely beneficial to entertain the notion of “intellectual diversity” in that field. And I definitely think they’d get more jobs if they heard both sides of the argument.

    Other than that, I think most students are just interested in learning from the people who have the skills they’ll need to be successful in their fields, regardless of that person’s political views.

    I mean, if employers really want you to know both sides of every discussion, I’ll gladly rescind my point. Usually they just want make sure you know the skills they need to make sure their business is successful. But if it happens to turn out (and maybe it doesn’t) that those skills are disproportionately taught by liberals, or draft-dodgers, or whatever, I think the solution to intellectual diversity there might be to become an employer and hire people with, let’s say, “more diverse” skill sets.

    I guess I’m suggesting that, just maybe, market demands for employee skills might be driving some of the bias in academia? Nah, that could never be the case. Nevermind.

  9. Vincent says:

    Well, Adolf Hitler didn’t invent anti-Semitism, nor was it illegal to be anti-Semitic in Germany at the time…

    Awww, what’s the point?

  10. George says:


    Thank you for the explanation.

    Well Davis didn’t invent slavery, nor was it illegal to own slaves. In fact slaves were imported into the United States until the late 1850s. To blame Davis for slavery, and to say his idea of liberty, is slavery is wrong. Lincoln on the other hand, was absolutely no friend to the blacks either.

    This link provides some insight to Davis view of slavery.

  11. CJ Ciaramella says:

    I think Vincent was pointing out that Davis’ conception of “liberty” also included the abject slavery of a few million people.

  12. George says:


    What on earth are you talking about??? Is this remark somehow conclusive proof that Davis hated the United States?

    Oh well this exchange is a pretty darn good example of intellectual diversity and the workings of the education system. You have no facts so your next best option is cute snide remarks. Typical. I expect the insults will start soon, which comes as no surprise to me.

  13. George says:

    So Tim didn’t Grant also own or at least have control of his father- in- laws slaves?

  14. Timothy says:

    Nothing wrong with dodging the draft. It is just escaping slavery, after all.

  15. C.T. Behemoth says:

    Ok, I think that as one of the resident veterans here, I have to point out that “liberals” were far from the only people dodging the war in Vietnam. People of all political persuasions were, but you all know this well enough I’m sure.

    Academia was a refuge for more than just ‘liberal’ draft dodgers. That “liberals” stayed (or at least that’s the argument) in academia after the war doesn’t mean too much to me. If it was a job that you liked and that paid well enough, why not stay? Or are we going to say that non-liberal draft dodgers who fled to academia and then left after the war are ‘better’ people? I don’t know. Either way, the draft dodging line seems a bit too one-sided for me.

  16. Timothy says:

    Olly was dodging the draft while my buddies died face down in the muck. IN THE MUCK!

  17. Olly says:

    Matt: “I mean, I totally agree with having more

  18. Timothy says:

    Jefferson Davis didn’t hate the US, he just liked owning black people more.

  19. George says:


    I do know some of the Davis family and have met them on several occasions. Also my use of “Jeff” is no different than anyone else using the term ‘Abe.”So what exactly is your point? I do have a decent understanding of history, so how does make me a slavery apologist, especially since slavery was legal institution in 1861?

    Do you actually have some fact to prove anything I said wrong???

  20. T says:

    Personally, I like how George refers to Jefferson Davis as “Jeff Davis”, as if they were old buddies. Also, he kind of sounds like a slavery apologist. WBTS indeed, sir.

  21. George says:


    You comparison of the political has no bearing on anything. The party platforms flip flopped. As proven by the actions of today

  22. Timothy says:

    Like a poli-sci degree ever got anyone a job.

  23. Matt says:

    …or just, um, not.

  24. Matt says:

    Yeah, I took a few PS classes. And they weren’t really like that. But you can pretend they were if you want, because I’m sure some are.

    I mean, I totally agree with having more “intellectual diversity” in classroom debate, and greater exposure to opposing viewpoints. But part of the issue I think is a problem of basic competency. Shall part of the physics curriculum to going over the views suggesting Earth is flat? I think political sciences could certainly be more diverse, especially in terms of ideology. But in other departments, at some point, it might just waste our time:

    I feel like if more employers and innovators in the “real world” expected our biology graduates to be well-versed in the study of creationism rather than genetics, we would teach them the conservative worldview for that field. But they don’t expect that, so we don’t teach it. And if it were offered, I feel job-seeking students would likely rather spend their time on the studies that will prepare them for their jobs. Granted, this is a great argument for why a non-evolutionist biology grad might want to launch his own pharmaceutical company, and maybe the market will take it…

  25. Betz says:

    Harumph, harumph, diversity sans progressivism, ad nauseum, et ceterum, ad infinitum…. harumph, harumph….

    Funny, but this is how I imagine what poly sci classes were probably like.

  26. C.T. Behemoth says:

    I’d say that both are VERY loaded terms….to the point that they’re meaningless without a lot of intellectual triage conducted before they are used.

  27. Betz says:

    You can’t preach diversity and be a “progressive” at the same time … “progress” is to subjective a term to suit us all. Funny how these two things typically go hand in hand…

  28. C.T. Behemoth says:

    “How is that any different when it comes to fundamental political issues? How is someone who

  29. Robert says:

    This is a really interesting discussion for a future higher ed reporter to be facilitating. I wonder what the future sources in the faculty think of it.

  30. Vincent says:

    I’m not sure he’ll find too many takers. Everyone talks a good talk on “diversity” — of course diversity of opinion matters as much as anything else! — but when it comes time to walk the walk, they’d just as soon see all those racist, crypto-fash scum stop trying to impede progress toward a more just and equitable society and go back to where they came from.

  31. Betz says:

    Lawton has also offered up the promise of a free “12 pack of beer” to anyone that will publicly debate him, on camera, with the opposing opinion that diversity of ipolitical opinion is not necessarily a good thing. Either that, or $20.

  32. Rockne Andrew Roll says:

    P.S. I forgot to mention: Lawton challenged Morrison to an open debate of the subject, which Morrison declined.

    This would be much better if “debate” were exchanged for “duel”

    Would someone kindly challenge Morrison to a duel?

    What a prick.

  33. Vincent says:

    I do think that the ideal here is that professors present students with a wide spectrum of ideas (rather than just their own) and challenge students to debate, defend or merely to engage them on an academic level.

    Which is a lovely ideal, of course. But, as the case of Mr. Morrison ably demonstrates, it’s perhaps a bit optimistic to expect that instructors in the classroom can even refrain from presenting grotesque caricatures of people and ideas with whom they disagree. If professors barely understand ideas that they openly despise, I’m not sure how students are supposed to learn about them.

    I mean, isn’t part of the foundation of the argument for “diversity” the notion that a “white male” can’t possibly understand and teach the experiences of “[insert minority]”? How is that any different when it comes to fundamental political issues? How is someone who’s an avowed communist supposed to talk about capitalism in an even-handed way (or visa-versa, of course)?

    As for “under-represented males”, it got a few yuks when I brought it up last time, but again, given the goalposts that have been set for race, etc., I think it should be at least discussed. I can’t recall where I read it, but I seem to recall men being outnumbered 60-40 at the undergraduate level and maybe 70-30(?) at the graduate level.

    This isn’t necessarily a problem in and of itself (perfect “equity” is emphatically not my goal), but drastically lower numbers of men getting educations combined with the disproportionate effects the recession has had on men, could lead to big social problems in the future.

    In academia, as far as I can tell, the reaction to all of this has been a collective shrug.

  34. C.T. Behemoth says:

    “Again, though, this is not the standard that is applied to race. All sorts of extraordinary measures are taken, including what amount to cash handouts to departments to that hire minorities, to make sure that minority

  35. Vincent says:

    Like CT said, if

  36. Betz says:

    I agree: the bunker-mentality, red vs. blue act is getting very tired, and I think its quite disruptive to our social well-being.

    Party registration is a poor metric indeed for political diversity; I don’t think there is any way to “fix” the disproportionate number of dems to cons on campus. Like CT said, if “X” is the majority, and “X” is statistically who applies, I would venture a guess that you are usually going to end up with “X”, instead of “YGHBS^!A”

    What really needs fixing is the way professors engage students with different viewpoints. The UO can talk the talk about diversity, but it also needs to walk the walk, and I think it begins not with the administration drafting up a “Diversity Bill”, but with the professors. I think the charge is on the professors, who interact with the students daily, to expose them to differing ideas …. occasionally, ideas that they may not want to hear. Being able to critically think about something from multiple points of view is the crowning achievement of true diversity, and yet it is exactly this quality that is missing from our generation of young students; all the more ironic that it happens on a “marketplace of ideas”, where diversity is touted supreme.

    I love to play “Devil’s Advocate” whenever I can, because it usually has either one of two effects on people: (1) They either get mad; or, (2) They look like an idiot. Those that look stupid don’t have anything to say to the contrary opinion … they have just been marching to the beat of the ideological drum, and this is a good moment because you have just exposed them to an idea that they hadn’t thought of or considered before. Those that get mad usually have a re-enforced opinion on something, and find it hard as to why you might question their thinking (because after all, their opinion is “right”, which means you must be “wrong”).

  37. C.T. Behemoth says:

    On a somewhat related note, I like it when this sort of thing inspires so much conversation because it really shines light on the fact that Democrats and Republicans really aren’t monolithic at all. The more people can internalize that idea, the better.

  38. C.T. Behemoth says:


  39. Random Professor says:

    If you want a balanced education just walk over to PLC and major in Economics. We won’t make you swear allegiance to Jeff Davis, but we will insist you learn some calculus.

  40. Dan says:

    Yeah, this is my fault on professor. Adjunct or instructor is correct. He’s not a full time member of the faculty.

  41. Vincent says:


    I mentioned the Bias Response Team mostly tongue-in-cheek, although there is a part of me that thinks that “progressive” enthusiasm for speech codes and punishing “hate speech” will only wane once the very edifice they’ve erected to persecute speech they find objectionable is turned against them.

    My mistake on the “Dr.” bit, too. I assumed that, since he was described as a “journalism professor”, he held a Ph.D.

    a lack of voices breeds not only intellectual stagnancy, but contempt for dissent


  42. Dan says:

    Just to cement what Vincent said above, I’m also growing tired of the misconception that pointing out the huge disparities in political affiliation is the equivalent of suggesting a litmus test. It’s not.

    It is explicitly stated, not only in the campus wide diversity program, but in the SOJC diversity program as well, that political diversity is a fundamental component of the diversity program. Yet, in numerous interviews I have conducted, no administrator has been able to articulate a single thing the University does in regard to political diversity. That’s a problem.

    When someone point outs (correctly) that we have a lack of African-American professors here and that might be a problem, they are not immediately accused of wanting to fire half of the staff and replacing them with blacks.

    We tend to unfortunately associate advocacy on the behalf of political diversity as some sort of Right-wing, red baiting, coup, instead of what it is: an argument for an intellectually diverse campus. The disparities in political affiliation, in addition to comments like Mr. Morrison’s, (not Dr.) show a faculty that is intolerant of half of the political spectrum. That’s the biggest thing to grasp out of this; that a lack of voices breeds not only intellectual stagnancy, but contempt for dissent.

    Yes, solving a problem like political diversity is extremely tricky. But, in my opinion, solutions are premature when there are people who still refuse to realize that statements like this expose a fundamental problem with higher education at UO.

    Vincent, it’s funny you mention the Bias Response Team, because I thought of them as well. This sort of comment fits their description perfectly…but the last thing I have a desire to do is inhibit speech. I just think it’s important we’re conscious that viewpoints like this exist in faculty.

  43. Jake says:

    I had Dan Morrison for a class, and I would be lying if I said he struck me as some sort of crazy liberal.

    So we get our facts straight, last time I checked Morrison wasn’t a professor he was an adjunct who taught a class every term. That might have changed in the past year, but I doubt it.

    He also only teaches photojournalism. And I thought he was a great teacher of that subject, and I never believed that his political outlook influenced the way he taught. In fact, I believed the opposite. There was a crazy g.t.f who helped him teach the class that would randomly go on rants about paternalism and Morrison would make fun of her.

    Finally, if I remember correctly Morrison did a stint in the Marines, and made his reputation shooting photos in war zones. After that he got a job teaching photography at the University of Texas where I think the reference to the statue comes from.

    While none of this excuses Morrison’s comments it does give them some context. If you want to kill a professor in the J-School for being ridiculous and biased then I will point you in the direction of Julianne Newton.

  44. Johnny says:

    Republicans would probably rather walk by a statue of Abe Lincoln, considering he was a Republican. Democrats, on the other hand, would prefer to walk by Jefferson Davis, as he was a Democrat. He also almost hated the US as much as the modern day libs, dems and dreadlock brats.

    Dan Morrison is a total scumbag. He couldn’t write for any newspaper or magazine, so he taught, poorly. Most of his students will probably turn out to be utter failures.

    Furthermore, Dan Morrison makes the U of O an unsafe space, I am scared when he is around. He targets conservatives who make up a minority of the student population, I will be talking with the Bias Response Team shortly.

    Just because Oregon is not full of different ethnic minorities does not mean that it is not a diverse state. Portland full of city dwelling libs, hipsters and creeps. Eastern Oregon is full of farmers, hicks and twits. Southern Oregon is full of people who still think they are in outer space from a bad acid trip in 1973. ECT…

    Anyways, I have found that most of the people who have such firm beliefs are complete morons, Dan Morrison is a scumbag.

  45. Vincent says:

    Incidentally, has anyone considered reporting Dr. Morrison to the University’s Bias Response Team?

    . Bias occurs whether that act is, intentional or unintentional or is directed toward an individual or group regarding race, color, creed, national origin; Sex, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, political, religious ideology, or any other distinguishing characteristic.

    (emphasis added)

    I presume that Dr. Morrison would argue that he’s only exercising his First Amendment Rights, but that pesky ol’ Constitution hasn’t stopped anyone from implementing draconian campus speech codes or attempting to criminalize “hate speech”.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but it’s not generally those “Dixie-loving racist conservatives” who tend to be in favor of the sort of free-speech restricting codes that Dr. Morrison seems to be in some jeopardy of having run afoul of, is it?

  46. Vincent says:

    What I wonder is how you propose we fire half of the professors and replace them with high-quality Republicans?

    It’s been said a million times already, but no one is suggesting firing professors or cooking up some kind of political litmus test for new hires. The point is, as it always has been, that the academy touts the supposed benefits of “diversity” in race, gender, sexuality, religion, etc., but seems unwilling or unable to practice what it preaches when it comes to people with different ideas.

    Statements like Dr. Morrison’s are the sad and predictable results of an ideological echo chamber. With no one around to challenge his preconceived notions about conservatives, he’s apparently started to believe in lazy caricatures.

    You may be very upset that the University of Oregon, which, I may point out, is funded by people who live in a liberal state, and therefore, no surprise, tends to be liberal, attracts professor applying for a job who tend to be liberal.

    Given the fact that Oregon is one of the whitest, most non-“diverse’ states in the Union, would Dr. Morrison apply the same standards to race and ethnicity?

    In any case, it seems that Dr. Morrison is the victim of his own prejudices, inventing far-fetched reasons to explain away a disparity that he can’t deny exists and eventually succumbing to crude stereotyping. Maybe Dr. Morrison could stand for a little mandatory diversity training himself.

  47. Bryan Saxton says:

    “Second, perhaps some of us can

  48. Ossie says:

    I’m going to stick with what Uncle Steve theorized: all the liberals fled to academia to avoid going to ‘Nam, and most just stayed there to avoid entering the real world.

  49. Kenneth says:

    I have a theory, but it may be too simplistic. I’m hard pressed to believe you’ll ever see a lot of Republicans in academia. The truth is that yes, we as students are better served by ideological diversity. What I wonder is how you propose we fire half of the professors and replace them with high-quality Republicans? Where will these Republicans come from? It just doesn’t seem practical. What I do think is that smart Republicans do not go into academia. They are found making millions in business and doing practical things with their abilities. We do not see a lot of smart Liberals going into business and dominating Wall Street. Smart liberals go into academia or politics or something like that because they would rather talk about stuff than become a part of it. This brings up the question of whether or not American industry is better served by having more liberals in business? Who knows, we could go around forever with that.

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