March 13, 2017

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Mind The Professors: How the lack of ideological diversity on college campuses slows progress and threatens the ideals of liberal education.

The incident at Middlebury isn’t isolated—far from it. Last year, it seemed that barely a day would go by without a progressive student protest or incident on some college or university making the news for all the wrong reasons. The aftermath of Donald Trump’s election has unleashed even more anxieties and fears on campuses, as well as ideas like the sanctuary movement. All of this is now coming on top of regular student protests and violence aimed at forcing universities to take stands on questions of social justice, microaggressions, safe spaces, Black Lives Matter, political correctness, and freedom of speech

Liberal students and ideas typically take center stage in media accounts of these episodes; faculties, aside from a few one-off cases, are an afterthought in the narrative. This is a huge mistake. College professors are tasked not only with shaping the minds of their students but also setting the tone for the intellectual climate and cultivating a fully contextualized, long-term outlook when it comes to current issues. In many cases, professors have influenced or even directed student responses to controversies like the election of Donald Trump. (All of these trends, furthermore, are even more pronounced in our nation’s liberal arts colleges.)

So why should this set off alarm bells? It should do so because our nation’s professors have moved ideologically so far to the left over the past few decades that they have fundamentally broken with the broader American polity, and even incoming freshman that they hope to guide and influence.

We need a professoriate that looks like America.

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