Diversity of ideas?

Dan Lawton, a UO Journalism undergrad, has a piece in the Christian Science Monitor today, about the harsh reaction he got at UO when he asked questions about the lack of conservative professors:

Eugene, Ore. – When I began examining the political affiliation of faculty at the University of Oregon, the lone conservative professor I spoke with cautioned that I would “make a lot of people unhappy.”

The University of Oregon (UO), where I study journalism, invested millions annually in a diversity program that explicitly included “political affiliation” as a component. Yet, out of the 111 registered Oregon voters in the departments of journalism, law, political science, economics, and sociology, there were only two registered Republicans.

In my column, published in the campus newspaper The Oregon Daily Emerald June 1, I suggested that such a disparity hurt UO. I argued that the lifeblood of higher education was subjecting students to diverse viewpoints and the university needed to work on attracting more conservative professors.

A professor who confronted me declared that he was “personally offended” by my column. He railed that his political viewpoints never affected his teaching and suggested that if I wanted a faculty with Republicans I should have attended a university in the South. “If you like conservatism you can certainly attend the University of Texas and you can walk past the statue of Jefferson Davis everyday on your way to class,” he wrote in an e-mail.

I was shocked by such a comment, which seemed an attempt to link Republicans with racist orthodoxy.

see here for the rest. Actually, UO has a vibrant conservative intellectual community – complete with a journal, blog, t-shirts, and a political platform (OK, that’s mostly about lowering the drinking age) – but they are all students and alumni, not faculty.

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