Professor Robert Maranto of Villanova discussed this insidious practice in the Baltimore Sun on July 31. "While colleges strive for ethnic diversity," he wrote, "they actively oppose ideological diversity." The result is a lack of meaningful debate on campuses that makes corporate boardrooms a model of give-and-take. The reason is that in business, those who keep out new ideas lose market share to competitors. "But within the ivory tower, professors can hold dumb ideas for decades with no accountability," Maranto notes.
Recently, there has been an effort in Colorado to bring some accountability to the state's public universities and break the left-wing stranglehold over them. Gov. Bill Owens, a Republican, has publicly complained about the lack of political diversity on state campuses: "I think that if you're in a political science department, we ought to strive to make sure that there are people who understand and who can explain political philosophy from the left as well as from the right."
According to the Denver Post, of the 78 political science professors at state colleges in Colorado, 45 are registered Democrats and just nine are Republicans. This means that it is very unlikely that a political science student will ever hear the subject taught by a Republican. In math, science and many other subjects, this doesn't matter. But in political science, it does. Students are simply not getting a complete education in the field if they only hear one side to every political issue.
Predictably, the universities scream bloody murder at any suggestion of adding conservatives to their faculties in order to improve diversity of opinion. They are all for quotas when it means admitting unqualified minority students, but allowing students to be taught by a conservative would somehow be a violation of everything the university stands for, it seems.
Of course, universities are right when they say that quotas are no answer to the problem of liberal bias on campus -- just as they are not the answer to improving minority enrollment. On the other hand, the taxpayers of Colorado are within their rights to demand accountability for the $817 million they will generously give the state's public universities this year. It is reasonable for them to ask that they be more than subsidiaries of the Democratic National Committee.
Bruce Bartlett is a former senior fellow with the National Center for Policy Analysis of Dallas, Texas. Bartlett is a prolific author, having published over 900 articles in national publications, and prominent magazines and published four books, including Reaganomics: Supply-Side Economics in Action.
Be the first to read Bruce Bartlett's column. Sign up today and receive Townhall.com delivered each morning to your inbox.