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A complete lack of intellectual diversity on most college campuses around America

The Myth of Campus Diversity


By —— Bio and Archives--August 7, 2018

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The Myth of Campus Diversity
For 20 years or so, I had the good fortune of being a college professor.  I started out as an adjunct instructor in 1996 teaching in an evening adult education program for a prominent Colorado private university.  From that humble beginning, I eventually found myself, at various stages of my academic career, an assistant professor, a department chair, a center director, a tenured full professor and a dean.  I plied my wares on many campuses and in various modalities, but for the most part I took my turn with the 8:OO AM class in basic economics.  Trust me, that is a challenge of the highest order.  For the most part the academic world treated me pretty well, which may seem a bit surprising given my political views.  I was blessed with working for great campus administrators and had colleagues, for the most part, who were more interested in education than in indoctrination.  Since leaving the academy, however, I have become alarmed at what may have been there all along—a complete lack of intellectual diversity on most college campuses around America.

The Chronicle of Higher Education is the go-to place for keeping up with what is happening across the academic landscape

The Chronicle of Higher Education is the go-to place for keeping up with what is happening across the academic landscape.  One of the best sections of their online offerings is their career section.  Colleges and other academically-oriented organizations post jobs there.  The positions are easy to search and are usually very comprehensive.  Every single one of the job ads has a detailed statement about how important diversity is to that particular department, college or university.  I find this most interesting.  I do note that most campuses do a good job of hiring a diverse group of faculty and staff based on race, gender and even religion, but I struggle with the notion that these august institutions of higher learning hire people based on intellectual diversity.

I don’t place the blame, if blame is really the right word, on the myriad search committees that toil endlessly with trying to find good colleagues that “fit” into the department.  I blame administrators, regents and board of trustee members who seem to lack the wisdom or courage to insist that intellectual diversity be a criterion for selection.  This is not to say that thousands of conservatives or libertarians will flock to college campuses to seek the security of tenure.  Finding qualified people in certain fields is a challenge.  Further, there may simply be no conservatives or libertarians who apply.  I don’t think these conditions would raise eyebrows anywhere.  What should bother all Americans is the fact that we see college administrators and board members cowering under their desks whenever—perish the thought—that a conservative is invited to campus.  The “adults” at the institutions should be the ones making sure that the students get clear object lessons in what it means to defend academic freedom, free speech and true intellectual diversity.  Rather than giving in to those who think shouting down a guest speaker is exercising free speech, perhaps those administrators should have the miscreants explain their behavior at the next President’s cabinet meeting or board retreat.  Perhaps the Provost ought to find them positions in work-study programs that include menial tasks that take hours to complete.  Maybe the best fix would be to boot their butts off campus until such time as they can display proper courtesy and open-mindedness when attending campus events.  I would venture to say that if there were more intellectual diversity on campus, the children of discontent would have a more adult perspective on campus and academic life.

The Intercollegiate Studies Institute has always been a safe harbor for me

I know from personal experience what it means to be an outspoken, highly visible conservative on a private, liberal arts campus.  I didn’t have a long list of colleagues wanting to join me for lunch in the cafeteria.  I did, however, have a solid cadre of friends among my colleagues who were, one-on-one, delightful and engaging.  When the focus was on teaching and scholarship, common interests trumped ideological chasms.  I was lucky, but most of my conservative brothers and sisters probably would not have it so good.

There are organizations that are fighting back.  The Intercollegiate Studies Institute has always been a safe harbor for me.  This group works to advance conservative thought on college campuses and provides a strong support network to conservative professors across the nation.  The National Association of Scholars is another strong voice for the open and free exchange of ideas on campus.  There are other pockets of advocacy out there that are doing all they can to make sure that all voices are heard.  Still, it may not be enough.

Believe it or not, I still have faith in the students who are attending our 4,000 or so institutions of higher learning.  Though many young people are swayed by the constant bombardment of progressive ideology and propaganda heaped out by the scoopful on campus, most of the young people weather the storm.  If they come to college with conservative values, they will most likely leave with them, as well.  This very notion is what drives liberal professors over the edge.  No matter how hard they press to indoctrinate our kids, the professors fail more often than they succeed.  The harsh reality of the real world sooner or later settles in on everyone, and making a living and paying taxes overrides any thoughts about the idyllic world promised by those who seem willing to give up liberty for some corrupt notion of equal outcomes for all. 

To paraphrase Jefferson, an educated citizenry is the best guarantor of liberty.  Let us hope so.  Here’s hoping that our children learn solid values in the home that sustains them for a lifetime.


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Dr. Sam Clovis -- Bio and Archives | Comments

Samuel H. Clovis, Jr., Doctor of Public Administration
Liston to Sam on LATalkRadio, Sundays: 1:00 to 3:00 PM (PST)
(Impact With Sam Clovis)

Sam Clovis was raised in Kansas and attended the United States Air Force Academy, serving for 25 years on active duty as a fighter pilot.  He retired as a Colonel and the Inspector General of NORAD and the United States Space Command.


Sam served as a Fellow at the Homeland Security Institute, contributing in national preparedness and immigration policy.  He recently served as a tenured full professor of economics at Morningside College.


Sam has a BS from the Academy, an MBA from Golden Gate University and a doctorate from the University of Alabama.  He served as national co-chair and chief policy advisor for the Trump for President Campaign, was a policy director during the transition period and served as the Senior White House Advisor to the US Department of Agriculture.  He currently lives in rural Iowa.


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