Victor Davis Hanson

Diversity has become corporatized on American campuses, with scores of bureaucrats and administrators accentuating different pedigrees and ancestries. That's odd, because diversity does not mean any more "variety" or "points of difference," at least as it used to be defined.

Instead, diversity has become an industry synonymous with orthodoxy and intolerance, especially in its homogeneity of political thought.

When campuses sloganeer "celebrate diversity," that does not mean encouraging all sorts of political views. If it did, faculties and student groups would better reflect U.S. political realities and might fall roughly into two equal groups: liberal and conservative.

Do colleges routinely invite graduation speakers who are skeptical of man-made global warming, and have reservations about present abortion laws, gay marriage or illegal immigration -- if only for the sake of ensuring diverse views?

Nor does diversity mean consistently ensuring that institutions should reflect "what America looks like."

If it did, all sorts of problems could follow. As we see in the NBA and NFL, for example, many of our institutions do not always reflect the proportional racial and ethnic makeup of America. Do we really want all institutions to weigh diversity rather than merit so that coveted spots reflect the race and gender percentages of American society?

Does anyone care that for decades the diverse state of California's three most powerful elected officials have been most un-diverse? Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Sen. Barbara Boxer and Sen. Dianne Feinstein are uniformly mature women, quite liberal, very wealthy, married to rich professionals or entrepreneurs, and who once lived within commuting distance of each other in the Bay Area.

Is the University of California, Berkeley, ethnically diverse? If it were, Asian students might have to be turned away, given that the percentage of Asian students at UC Berkeley is about three times as great as the percentage of Asian residents in California's general population.

Gender disparity is absolutely stunning on American campuses. Women now earn about 61 percent of all associate degrees and 57 percent of all bachelor's degrees. With such disproportionate gender representation, do we need outreach offices on campus to weigh maleness in admissions? Should college presidents investigate whether the campus has become an insidiously hostile place for men?


Victor Davis Hanson

Victor Davis Hanson is a classicist and historian at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and a recipient of the 2007 National Humanities Medal.