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Reverse Affirmative Action: Liberal College Seeks Conservative Scholar

This is sure to be a hot topic debated among conservative scholars. Should the conservative movement sell its soul, so to speak, to get representation on college campuses, which right now are filled with left-leaning and socialist educators?

In other words, conservatives have long pointed out the many flaws inherent in affirmative action polices. Yet will they turn a blind eye when it benefits them?

Valerie Richardson at The Washington Times reports on a budding affirmative action program taking shape in the very liberal city of Boulder, Colorado:

Coming soon to the University of Colorado at Boulder, what many had assumed was an extinct or at least endangered species: the conservative professor.

The famously left-wing university is on the cusp of selecting a “visiting scholar in conservative thought and policy,” a first-of-its-kind post aimed at embedding a prominent right-wing intellectual on campus as a conservative-in-residence for one or two years.

The idea is to increase intellectual diversity on campus, but the reaction from both sides of the political spectrum has been mixed. While liberals grumble about the wisdom of playing ideological favorites, conservatives worry that the program treats conservative scholars as some sort of exotic “freak show,” said Jon Caldara, president of the free-market Independence Institute in Golden, Colo.

“It’s distressing that a free-market conservative has to become a freak sideshow act at a college,” said Mr. Caldara, a CU graduate who lives in Boulder. “What this says is that it’s so difficult to find real intellectual diversity on a college campus that we have to go out and hunt somebody down.”

Other conservatives argue that the program — a kind of ideological affirmative-action program — is better than nothing. Relying on the administration or faculty to bring in more conservatives through the hiring process has been a colossal failure, said Mike Rosen, a conservative columnist and talk-show host on KOA-AM in Denver.

… The committee is hoping to have the visiting conservative scholar start in the fall. Mr. Caldara predicted the scholar would receive a less-than-warm welcome on his or her first day.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if the National Guard has to escort that person into the building,” he said.

By the way, it should be pointed out one minor victory in all of this: CU Boulder admitting its leftist slant.

Richardson’s article is long and interesting. Click here to read it.

Meanwhile, The College Fix has been watching this emerging debate unfold. Click here for more on it.

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Add to the Discussion

  • Dan

    The point is not to increase intellectual diversity on campus. It is to surround the conservative scholar with liberals & try to convert them. What help does it do for “intellectual diversity” when there is 1 conservative out of how many? 30-50 professors? 50-1 liberal bias, real diverse.

  • Diddian

    The conservative professor would do better to begin his own school, so the value of the degree is not diluted.

  • Zsuzsa

    I’m not sure I see this as “affirmative action” so much as looking for a professor with a specialty. If, for example, a math department was looking for someone to teach statistics, it wouldn’t be affirmative action if they chose a statistician over an algebraist with a more impressive record.

    I’m more concerned about Caldara’s point, that this makes conservatives into a sort of exotic zoo animal, and suggests that it’s okay that every other department discriminates against conservatives because we have this one chair in conservative thought.

  • Maybe Ted Nugent would be willing to take them on!