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Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Mrs. Robbo pointed my attention to a recent article over at NRO by Samuel Abrams about some new survey of colleges and universities that grades them on the genuine “diversity” of political thought and opinion on campus.  Get this:  According to the survey, la-di-da New England schools that pride themselves on being “diverse” are anything but:

At a time when the diversity of ideas — and notably conservative thought — is diminishing on college campuses nationwide, this new classification of schools is important. It answers questions such as, Is the school a place where students are likely to encounter a variety of views on politically and socioeconomically controversial topics? And: Has the school created and fostered an environment where students who do not hold the dominant political viewpoint are afraid to speak up?

The ranking has revealed that New England is by far the worst region of the country, especially for liberal-arts colleges, when it comes to campuses that support and maintain viewpoint diversity. With Harvard, Yale, Brown, and Tufts on the university side and Williams, Wesleyan, Smith, Amherst, and Mount Holyoke on the liberal-arts college side, these schools reflect the politics of the region and were all at the bottom of the rankings in terms of viewpoint diversity. This could well be the first time that these esteemed institutions have found themselves at the bottom of national rankings that are so crucial to the very mission of higher education.

Gee…ya think?

Regular friends of the decanter will know that Ol’ Robbo attended The People’s Glorious Soviet of Middletown, CT back in the day, and that I saw this lockstep group-think crap 35 years ago.  Indeed, the very first time I came across the term “politically correct” – which is Maoist in origin, by the bye – was in the late summah of 1983 when I was a newbie frosh being orientated to campus life.  At first, I naively thought it was a joke.  About 15 minutes later, I realized the Kampus Kulturny were in deadly earnest.

To be fair, back then one could still call these people out, which I proceeded to do vigorously for four years.  Nowadays?  Well, not only would one risk getting a bicycle lock to the temple, one would also face getting hauled up before the campus Star Chamber on charges of Hate Crimes.

No, thankee.

Curiously (and what prompted Mrs. R to send me the article to begin with), the current Premier at the Dear Old Soviet gets a quote in the article:

This message [i.e., that lockstep leftist groupthink is bad and that colleges should be championing the robust, free interchange of ideas] is beginning to resonate. Wesleyan president Michael Roth, in an opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal, recently acknowledged the problem and proposed aggressive action to “create deeper intellectual and political diversity,” because many, often conservative, ideas “seldom get the sustained, scholarly attention that they deserve.” While Roth was short on specifics, his message suggests that the Connecticut college president finally sees that there is a real problem, and he may push Wesleyan to move in the right direction.

And pigs may fly. (Dear Ol’ Wes is, I believe, still at the forefront of the movement to abolish sexist pronouns such as “he” and “she” and replace them with gender-neutral alternatives such as “xer”.  I kid you not.)

My guess is that any “push” in the “right direction” is going to have nothing at all to do with intellectual honesty, scholarly tradition, or a rediscovery of the virtues of the marketplace of ideas.

No, it’s going to be driven by some critical mass of parents suddenly saying, “Why the hell are we shelling out $65K a year for this?”

This just ain’t sour grapes, by the way.  As I say, I went to Wesleyan.  My brother was undergrad at Hamilton.  My sister-in-law went to Wellesley and my cousin went to Holyoke and Harvard.   Mrs. R’s grandfather was a drunken DKE at Dartmouth.  We know these schools.  That said, I certainly would never dream of wasting that kind of money to send any of the Gels to any one of ’em these days.  So there.



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