Mateo Sundberg’s Op-Ed is on the Daily Emerald website here:
Over one year ago, the Black Student Task Force released a list of twelve demands for the University of Oregon administration to address campus issues surrounding diversity and tolerance. One of the demands, demand number six, was a request for the University of Oregon to commit to hiring more African-American professors, specifically in areas outside of the humanities and the social sciences, to encourage diversity in our university’s faculty.
However, this demand, and many other similar demands for diversity by means of race and ethnicity in higher education, fails to reach its goal of creating a space of intellectual rigor, debate and ideological diversity.
Commentators on both the political left and right have highlighted how academic departments value diversity in the form of race and ethnicity over diversity in thought. Few people would try to argue that having an entire faculty of white, middle-aged, straight and upper-middle class professors would create a campus climate that was diverse and inclusive. Sadly, this line of thought does not ring true when applied to faculty having diverse political ideologies.
The University of Oregon should continue to pursue faculty candidates of diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds because the life experiences and worldviews of minorities are important and valuable for intellectual debate.
However, if the universities do not diagnose and fix their ideological bias problem, they will become an echo chamber of only liberal ideas and thought, which would result in the failure of our universities duty to be a space of intellectual rigor that is full of debate. Universities do not have a monopoly on knowledge and intellect; they need to hire more faculty members of diverse ideological and political thought before universities render themselves obsolete.
Please consider commenting on the ODE site. Also see this post on Nick Kristof’s recent NYT Op-Ed on the same theme.