Colleges promote diversity, sometimes


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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.

20 thoughts on “Colleges promote diversity, sometimes

  1. Thank you! Enjoyed reading this. I live in Johnson County, and work in the University system; some days can be tough being a Republican.


  2. I attended the University of Iowa. I received my BSN in Nursing. If you don’t like historical or scientific facts, doing research, working toward evidence based outcomes, perhaps you might be a Republican. If you don’t want your precious children subjected to fact, rather than mythology or opinions, perhaps a private school of your own religious beliefs would be a better choice.


    • To imply that all Republicans don’t like facts doesn’t do much to move the conversation along. I do appreciate, though, that you have an opinion and are willing to voice it. Too many people are politically correct.


  3. I said PERHAPS, not ALL. Good heavens. Being “politically correct”, is being considerate of others. If you are attending college, it is to be educated of the facts. I loved the U of IA for it’s diversity, tolerance and open mindedness. If you prefer judging and being judged, closed minds, intolerance, I hope you find a place where you feel comfortable. I mean, why feel challenged and part of freedom of expression and different points of view and mind opening discussion? Why feel empathy when you can feel COMFORTABLE?!


      • The conservative voices on college campuses are usually shut down completely and those who hold conservative views are many times penalized by liberal professors.


  4. If you feel that the “liberal” professors are an affront to diversity, imagine how those of us who are liberal feel with a State and Federal govt ruled by Republicans. I am moving along to a more tolerant website. Carry on.


  5. I am ba-ack! Please tell me your source for stating that 2/3 of 500 attempts to dis-invite speakers on college campuses were liberals trying to block “conservative” speakers. I identify as a Christian and I now vote only for candidates with progressive ideas. I don’t vote for those who continue to espouse the same financial theories that have failed.


  6. I was on that website. I would not block a speaker just because they are “conservative”, but when a speaker is known for saying very offensive things about those with whom they disagree, it might be wise not to invite that person (such as Ann Coulter). Respect is deserved on both sides. Especially at our state universites, which used to be funded well in the past by taxpayers, I think speakers should only be educating about facts.


  7. It would be great to have a list of the people who were uninvited. I would probably have agreed with all of them not showing up. I personally would not want a member of the KKK, or some anti- gay, racist, bigot or staunchly religious ( insert all religions here) or against women’s rights, etc. what do they have to offer? I can go to a lot of “Christian” churches or Republican rallies and hear this crap. I want my kids to be challenged to do better in life not to fall back on hateful, backwards way of thinking. But maybe you are right, bring these types on campus and kids can find out quicker what beliefs their classmates have.


    • Hi Ron. If you go to the website referenced in the article, you will find a database of all who have been disinvited. I would agree that those who incite violence should not be welcome at any location whether it’s a college campus or other site.


      • Thanks Sandy. I have read articles from FIRE before and do agree with their purpose. The First Amendment affords us free speech, but unfortunately we live in a time where people think their opinions are more important than human compassion and decency. My struggle is always if you give hate speech a platform it will continue. History shows humans love to blame someone else for their problems. Thanks for the article.


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