- Drone almost blocks California firefighting planes
- Tornado rips off roofs, downs trees near Boston
- GOP: Environmental rules keeping agents from accessing border
- John Kerry: Millions displaced by religious fighting in 2013
- Federal appeals court rules against Virginia’s gay marriage ban
- White House says Russia ‘losing’ war in Ukraine
- Hamas turns to North Korea for weapons deal, Iran for money
- Syrian casualties surge as jihadis consolidate
- U.N. rights chief: Flight MH17 downing possible war crime
- Attack on park in Gaza war kills 10, mostly children
Special Needs: Conservative may get anti-discrimination protection at Colo. college
Question of the Day
DENVER — College campuses are known for proudly proclaiming their refusal to tolerate discrimination against any minority group, but try telling that to a conservative.
Few would disagree that conservative professors are an endangered species on campus, which is why the University of Colorado Board of Regents is scheduled to consider Thursday a resolution that would prohibit discrimination based on "political affiliation or political philosophy."
Regent James Geddes said the proposed policy change is aimed at bringing more diversity of intellectual thought to the university, which has a reputation as a bastion of liberalism in its faculty and student body.
"It's my view that academic freedom is of paramount importance, and unfortunately in many disciplines at the University of Colorado, they end up with high-quality people who think alike," Mr. Geddes said. "If the other side is not present, then the environment for a rich exchange of ideas is simply not there."
The board also is slated to consider a resolution to conduct a survey on whether its campuses have implemented a previous resolution calling on them to "respect diversity in all of its forms, including diversity of political, geographic, cultural, intellectual, and philosophical perspectives."
The liberal Boulder campus may be the last place anyone would expect to find a conservative revolt in academic thought, but the University of Colorado has drawn national attention for attacking liberal bias since Republicans gained a 5-4 majority on the board in 2011.
In March, the University of Colorado Boulder appointed Steven Hayward as the inaugural visiting scholar in conservative thought and policy in an effort to bring underrepresented ideas to campus.
The drive for more conservative voices on campus is encountering some resistance from faculty members, who say they worry that the effort amounts to intellectual quotas that could hinder the university from attracting top talent.
"The university should be trying to hire the best faculty, and that should be the only criterion," said Oliver McBryan, professor of computer science emeritus at the Boulder campus. "If you start trying to interject other criteria, you're not going to get the best candidates, and you may even drive some of them away."
Mr. McBryan agreed that college professors tend to lean left — "There's definitely a weighting toward liberalism at universities" — but said the reason may be that liberals are better suited for the world of academia, while conservatives are more at home in the field of business.
"Researchers are people whose minds are very open to new ideas, which means they aren't conservative," Mr. McBryan said. "Conservatives are more likely to prefer the status quo. ... Professors are more likely to be liberal-oriented because they search for and are open to new ideas."
Other faculty members are expected to testify Thursday both for and against the resolutions, including University of Colorado School of Law professor Robert Nagel, who has criticized the lopsided liberal majority in the humanities.
The proposed resolution on discrimination would apply to hiring and academic policies, and would include a "mechanism for investigating any complaints of discrimination based upon political affiliation or political philosophy."
Mr. Geddes said he expects a spirited debate. "I've been a regent for 4½ years, and this is the biggest deal since I've been here," he said.
University of Colorado Boulder has had a major ideological fight over a faculty member, but the professor was no conservative. In 2007, ethnic studies professor Ward Churchill was fired on charges of academic dishonesty in the aftermath of years of controversy over an essay on the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, in which he compared the World Trade Center victims to Nazi war criminals — "little Eichmanns."
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Valerie Richardson covers politics and the West from Denver. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Westerners call for oversight to combat federal land managers
- Protesters rally in Colorado to support Israel's fight with Hamas
- Plagiarism scandal threatens Senate campaign of Montana Democrat John Walsh
- Conservative groups decry Democrats' 'war on women' tactic
- Act would create tax-free savings accounts for the disabled
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
By Scott Pinsker
- Illegal immigrants demand representation in White House meetings
- Hillary Clinton: Forget Obama, George W. Bush made her 'proud to be an American'
- D.C. police chief orders officers not to arrest legal gun owners carrying weapons in public
- Tennessee Gov. Haslam slams White House for secret dump of illegals in his state
- Babson College, BYU win top spots in Money magazine's college rankings
- CURL: Obama, staffers not even pretending any more
- Family of Marine killed in Afghanistan pushes back against cover-up
- D.C. seeks stay in order striking down ban on handguns in public
- DeSean Jackson working on offensive cohesiveness with Redskins teammates
- Ohio sheriff sends bill to Mexico for cost of jailing illegals
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq