NOTE: The article excerpted on this page is from an outside publication and is posted on FIRE's website because it references FIRE's work. The viewpoints expressed in this article do not necessarily represent FIRE's positions.
In far too many instances, what passes as college life and education today is no less than shameful. Under the name of diversity and political correctness, billions of taxpayer dollars and donor contributions are used to promote what might be charitably called enlightened racism, uniformity of thought and political proselytizing. Let’s look at some of it.
The student code of Shippensburg University, in Pennsylvania, said that students had a “right to express a personal belief system” but only if such expression did not “demean,” “annoy” or “alarm” others. Thus, if a student expressed a distaste for race or sex preferences in admissions, he might be disciplined for a code violation. Fortunately, Shippensburg’s code no longer exists due to a successful First Amendment lawsuit brought by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.
The Collegiate Network (www.collegiatenetwork.org) keeps a running tally on gross behavior at the nation’s colleges. For the grossest behavior, it confers its “Polly Award.” University of Mississippi won second place last year. Why? After finding racist graffiti at the University of Mississippi, a university police official threatened that the students responsible would be prosecuted for “criminal charges, possibly a felony, or it could be a federal offense.” One month later, the punishment was reduced to community-service hours and therapeutic “reflection papers” when it was discovered that the culprits were not white students but three black freshman students.
At the University of Louisville, Ky., a “White Privilege Forum” was held to talk about how “white persons run and/or own nearly half of the United States. . . . ” A tape that I received showed a panel of three white students and two white professors and a black professor as moderator. The white students appeared to feel shame for their so-called “privilege,” which probably wasn’t anything more than hard work and sacrifice by their parents. What might have motivated the forum was an earlier incident where two students, in exchange for applying for a credit card, were offered T-shirts with a caricature of a black couple titled “10 Reasons Why a Beer is Better than a Black Man.” Bank One apologized with a $50,000 donation to the University of Louisville’s diversity lecture series. To promote better racial understanding, its first speaker was Sister Souljah.
Cornell University’s Gannett Health Center, “as a commitment to affirming women’s sexuality,” had decided to sell vibrators to students. The people running the health center backed away, as is so often the case, when their agenda started receiving negative publicity through Accuracy in Academia (www.academia.org). They were sensitive to the impact it might have on parental decisions to send their children to Cornell, not to mention the impact it might have on donors.
Diversity is all the rage on college campuses; many have established offices of diversity with diversity personnel. One thing for sure is that college administrators are not calling for political and intellectual diversity. David Horowitz and Eli Lehrer did a study titled “Political Bias in the Administrations and Faculties of 32 Elite Colleges and Universities.” The overall ratio of Democrats to Republicans they were able to identify at the 32 of the nation’s elite schools was more than 10 to 1 (1,397 Democrats, 134 Republicans), while for the American population, Republicans and Democrats are roughly equal in number. The same political lopsidedness is found in university administrations. David Horowitz and Eli Lehrer report, “In the entire Ivy League, we identified only three Republican administrators.”
The brainwashing of students and other shameful college practices occur because as taxpayers and donors we’re lazy and indifferent, and college administrators take advantage. Before legislators make an appropriation to or before you donate one dime to a college, check out its Web site. If you see a diversity office, women’s studies or transgender studies, that college is the wrong place to send your money. Administrators tend to have closed minds, but the sounds of pocketbooks snapping shut just might open them.