Higher education preaches the importance of diversity and the benefits a diverse campus bring to all of it’s students, seemingly focusing on race, ethnicity, geographic location. But what higher education fails to take into account is the diversity of opinions and ideals, which is equally, if not more, important in higher education. Colleges and universities fear the effect that the monotony of race would do to their institutions, but the more likely homogeneous group taking over our campuses are the liberal educators that teach our youth during a pivotal time in their intellectual development.
It’s no surprise that many faculty members at American universities are liberal. In the 2012 presidential election, every single one of the eight Ivy League universities saw “more than 90 percent of faculty donations go to Obama.” At Cornell University, over 96% of campaign donations from the faculty have funded Democratic campaigns, while at Harvard University, 86% of faculty campaign donations funded the Democratic agenda. Another extreme example is Princeton University: of the faculty members who donated to the 2012 presidential candidates, only one donated to a conservative candidate, while every other member donated to President Obama’s campaign.
Cornell government professor Richard Bensel department has stated that he “does not believe Cornell is obligated to supply students with all points of view” with regards to political ideology. How is diversity in political ideology, however, any different than diversity in race, gender, and geographic location?
Who really suffers from the political ideology monotony that plagues higher education today? Is it the conservatives, who reside in the minority and are taught by professors who’s values and ideas differ so greatly from their own? Or is it the liberal students, who may never have the opportunity of having a professor fundamentally disagree with them? Could we be educating a generation that is not able to collaborate with differing opinions? But is this any different than the state our political sphere is already in today?
Take, for example, the Republican and Democrat debates: each party typically blames the other for the issues the country is facing. At the most recent presidential debate, candidate Hilary Clinton filled her speaking time with partisan remarks. Clinton remarked that she “can take the fight to the Republicans because we cannot afford a Republican to succeed Barack Obama as president of the United States.” Clinton also stated that one of the enemies she was most proud of making during her political career was the Republicans. How Democrats praised Clinton for her performance at the debate when it was filled with partisan remarks is beyond me, but it serves as an excellent example of the partisanship we face today.
Society’s inability to work with those who have different beliefs starts somewhere, and one such place is the college classroom. If we don’t embrace political discourse and ideological differences at the collegiate level, how can we expect to educate a generation that will be able to combat the partisanship we see today?