Harvey Mansfield, Kenan Professor of Government at Harvard University and a member of the AHI’s board of academic advisers, has published a brief essay in the Harvard Crimson on “The Cost of Affirmative Action.” Among its key points: Harvard’s current diversity policy has actually made Harvard less politically and intellectually diverse.
He counts only three conservative professors in a Harvard government department that boasts fifty members. He counts not one conservative among the dozens of African-American faculty that Harvard has so visibly and proudly recruited in recent decades. Multiculturalism, he contends, which manifests a “strange combination of relativism and moralism,” has led not only to active intolerance of conservatives on campus in the name of promoting a more homogenous, less exclusivistic academic village, but to the degradation of “Harvard’s academic integrity” itself.
Do Professor Mansfield’s criticisms of Harvard apply to, say, Hamilton College? Well, Harvard appears to have more conservative faculty in a government department of fifty than Hamilton College has in a faculty of about 200. Hamilton College boasts an abundance of diversity administrators and groups: the Diversity and Social Justice Project, Social Justice Initiative, Associate Dean for Diversity Initiatives, Associate Dean of Students for Diversity and Accessibility, etc., etc. These groups, in aggregate, command hundreds of thousands of dollars annually. In fact, one of the chief reasons why Hamilton College did away with merit scholarships, as President Joan Hinde Stewart candidly admitted, was to fund diversity initiatives. Yet, paeans to diversity notwithstanding, Hamilton College hosted on campus not one–that’s right, not one– conservative speaker during the 2007-2008 academic year.
Money, as any sane person recognizes, affects speech, whether in a presidential election or on a college campus. It is not hard to figure out in what political direction administrative largesse to the diversity cartel drives campus culture. Yet when asked point blank by AHI co-founder Robert Paquette if the absence of conservative speakers suggests a lack of intellectual diversity on the Hamilton College campus, the dean of the faculty responded, “no.” Recall also that in explaining to a local reporter why Hamilton College reneged on a signed agreement to establish the Alexander Hamilton Center on campus, the dean averred, “The feeling was,” that the center “would be destructive to the faculty community here—so destructive that we were willing to walk away” from a multi-million dollar gift. Note how academics use the language of communitarianism to package the reality of exclusion.