- EphBlog - http://ephblog.com -

Affirmative Action for Conservative Faculty

abl asked JCD:

I have a question for you: should Williams be willing to hire tenure candidates with inferior records, and to give those tenure candidates more reign not to publish/not to publish well before cutting them loose, so as to develop a faculty that includes more voices on the right? In other words, should Williams be practicing affirmative action for conservative scholars on its faculty?

Yes! Just as Williams has recently practiced affirmative action in hiring in the physics and math/stats department.

Facebooktwitter
Comments Disabled (Open | Close)

Comments Disabled To "Affirmative Action for Conservative Faculty"

#1 Comment By anonymous On December 20, 2017 @ 10:05 am

The assumption here is that there is an objective standard by which one can judge faculty, which completely ignores all we know about privilege, discrimination, implicit bias, and so forth. In short, there is no fair process, and affirmative action cannot produce equality, because those are all convenient fictions for the elites.

#2 Comment By frank uible On December 20, 2017 @ 11:20 am

On the street affirmative action is called playing favorites.

#3 Comment By JCD On December 20, 2017 @ 2:20 pm

Republicans are more educated and more informed than Democrats. If Williams College hired on the basis of merit rather than diversity, I am confident that the political science department, at least, would be dominated by conservatives.

Republicans More Educated & Informed, Higher Political IQ, per Liberal Pew Poll

I know when I taught at Williams College an outside accreditation agency determined that the political science department had too few conservatives and indicated this was a problem that ought to be fixed. As far as I can tell, no effort has been made to obtain any sort of ideological balance since I resigned in 1989.

The school is poorer as a result of its apparent discrimination against conservatives. There is no one, as far as I can tell, currently teaching at Williams College who is available to confront Marxist, feminist, leftist or atheist perspectives on campus. There are no full-time faculty members who are registered Republicans. Let that fact sink in…

#4 Comment By abl On December 20, 2017 @ 2:47 pm

JCD –

As you should know (being an award-winning political scientist), that link provides a pretty garbage assessment of the question of intelligence and political leaning. In any event, the pool of individuals with PhDs — the only pool relevant here — is overwhelmingly liberal. And, although I’m not sure that this has been studied, I am confident that the pool of individuals with PhDs from top-10 institutions is even more liberal than the overall pool of individuals with PhDs. (And I want to acknowledge that I don’t believe that this is entirely because of the intelligence of liberals vs conservatives — the geographic location of these institutions likely plays a role.)

This, however, is besides the point, because my question was whether Williams should be willing to practice affirmative action on behalf of conservatives. Whether or not such a policy is necessary (it likely is) is a different question.

#5 Comment By frank uible On December 20, 2017 @ 3:23 pm

Is being number one in political science not unlike being number one in scamming the elderly and otherwise mentally deficient?

#6 Comment By JCD On December 20, 2017 @ 3:48 pm

The larger issue, of course, is the degree to which Adam Falk is on the wrong side of history when it comes to protecting freedom of speech on college and university campuses. Luckily, the trend is to move in the direction of more free speech, not less:

Report: Campus speech codes decline for 10th straight year

As you may know, the Foundation for Individual Freedom in Education (FIRE) has assigned Williams College a rating of “red” – its lowest possible rating – because of the way the school’s policies restrict freedom of speech. For a look at the details of the problems FIRE identifies at Williams, check on the following link:

Spotlight: Williams College

As Congress mulls over the issue of including speech code reporting requirements to the re-authorization of the Higher Education Act, the great work by FIRE will help legislators understand the importance of providing parents, students and alumni with independent, objective evidence regarding the level of freedom of speech at any particular campus.

Protecting freedom of speech is a good way to begin the process of undermining discrimination against conservatives faculty and students and creating a healthier academic environment where students learn both sides of key issues.

#7 Comment By anonymous On December 20, 2017 @ 5:44 pm

JCD has it right: a strong commitment to free speech (and an environment free of discrimination) is much more effective than affirmative action.

#8 Comment By abl On December 20, 2017 @ 6:29 pm

anonymous — more effective at … what?

#9 Comment By anonymous On December 20, 2017 @ 6:36 pm

… ensuring an adequate understanding of conservative ideas, appropriate for an excellent liberal arts education.

#10 Comment By abl On December 20, 2017 @ 6:55 pm

Gotcha — so you would say that Williams currently has adequate conservative voices on its faculty, but that it does not give those voices adequate freedom to express their conservative viewpoints?

#11 Comment By Yung Alum On December 20, 2017 @ 8:03 pm

I think this gets at the heart of the question. Let’s look at abl’s comment above but replace race/economic status/etc. for liberal and PhD’s with students admitted to Williams:

. In any event, the pool of students admitted to Williams — the only pool relevant here — is overwhelmingly white/rich/etc. And, although I’m not sure that this has been studied, I am confident that the pool of individuals admitted to Williams with the highest academic ratings is even more white/wealthy/etc. than the overall pool of individuals admitted. (And I want to acknowledge that I don’t believe that this is entirely because of the intelligence differences between races/classes etc. — culture/society/tutoring etc. likely plays a role.)

We have affirmative action for race/economic status. This is because the college as a whole feels that these voices are valuable but less likely to be admitted otherwise. By having affirmative action for these specific attributes, it’s making a judgement about what voices are most valuable to Williams as students and professors. That kind of judgement is inherently political–and given the liberal bias of academia–unlikely to benefit conservative PhD’s who may be underrepresented in the faculty.

#12 Comment By frank uible On December 20, 2017 @ 8:46 pm

Williams also has affirmative action for athletes, for relatives of donors of very large gifts and once upon a time for legacies.

#13 Comment By anonymous On December 20, 2017 @ 9:17 pm

@abl:
Probably, at least enough who understand if not actively hold such views.

My sense is that an environment that actively promotes broad discussion, in which all questions can be asked and all possible answers considered, will naturally allow a sufficient range of political opinions to be voiced or sought out (with external speakers brought in as needed). Proportional representation is neither necessary nor desired (especially since the research on the seemingly simpler question of gender disparity is far from settled).

#14 Comment By dcatsam On December 20, 2017 @ 9:21 pm

I just want to apologize for the two random posts that went out under my name over the last couple of days. I hadn’t been checking in over here and when I noticed them I went in, deleted them, and changed my password. I hope that clears up the issue.

As you were.