Colleges promote diversity, sometimes


Image by Shutterstock.

Colleges seem to care more about multiculturalism than about diversity of thought.

The University of Iowa and Iowa State University are predicting a decline in international students this year. That’s causing concern. Advocates for big international student numbers say it’s important for an institution of higher learning to provide an environment where multiple cultures can learn from each other. The extra tuition income doesn’t hurt, either.

Universities, though, are selective in what kind of learning is encouraged. A large university can brag about its 70 multicultural student organizations, but then balk at allowing a high-profile conservative speaker on its campus. Cultural diversity is embraced. Diversity of thought is sometimes stifled.

According to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, there have been more than 300 attempts to disinvite campus speakers since 2000. More than two-thirds were conservative speakers that liberals were attempting to silence.

The data quantifies what’s been common knowledge for quite some time. College campuses are heavily tilted toward liberalism.

That’s why most parents sending a child with conservative leanings off to college have had “the talk” with them. Know who has the power—professors. Know the likely political leaning of these professors—liberal. Know what could happen if you challenge their belief system—the “A” paper could become a “B” paper.

Better to keep your head down, get through college, and let your conservatism shine after you have the degree in hand. Not a very proud talk to have with your child when you’re supposed to be living in the land of the free, but reality dictates it.

A recent Pew Research Center survey showed that 58 percent of Republican and Republican-leaning Independents felt colleges and universities had a negative effect on the way things are going in the country, while 72 percent of Democrats and Democratic leaners said colleges had a positive impact.

In a very lopsided way, conservatives believe colleges are teaching the wrong things—but liberals are loving it.

It’s disingenuous for universities to be alarmed about lack of diversity through declining international student numbers, while at the same time showing little concern about protecting diversity of political thought.

It would be terrible if there were no international students on campus. Universities are a unique place where students can learn about their world. What better way to learn than to bring the world to them through international students?

But multiculturalism is just one type of diversity. Political thought is another. Half of the population of this country leans conservative, and yet the conservative voice on campus isn’t always heard.

Many years ago, a wise junior high teacher gave his students the assignment of writing and delivering a speech where each would argue either for or against hunting. Using critical thinking, our young minds eventually reached the correct conclusion that it wasn’t an either-or debate. Hunting is a pleasurable hobby for many and provides food. It can also be necessary to thin populations when there aren’t enough natural predators. But hunting is wrong when it puts a species on the brink of extinction. All or nothing doesn’t work in the hunting world.

It doesn’t work that great in political discourse, either. We need choices. We need to hear differing opinions, from both liberals and conservatives on college campuses.

Even a seventh-grader would know that.