Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Lack of Political Diversity at the University of Oregon Part II

After the student column appeared in the Oregon Daily Emerald, as quoted above, the student in the Christian Science Monitor describes the response he received from professors at the University of Oregon

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. When I wrote back expressing my offense, he neither apologized nor clarified his remarks.

Instead, he reiterated them on the record. Was such a brazen expression of partisanship representative of the faculty as a whole? I decided to speak with him in person in the hope of finding common ground.

He was eager to chat, and after five minutes our dialogue bloomed into a lively discussion. As we hammered away at the issue, one of his colleagues with whom he shared an office grew visibly agitated. Then, while I was in mid-sentence, she exploded.

“You think you’re so [expletive] cute with your little column,” she told me. “I read your piece and all you want is attention. You’re just like Bill O’Reilly. You just want to get up on your [expletive] soapbox and have people look at you.” …

“You understand that my column was basically a prophesy,” I shot back. I had suggested right-leaning ideas weren’t welcome on campus and in response the faculty had tied my viewpoints to racism and addressed me with profanity-laced insults. …

Political disagreement is crucial to vibrant discourse, but not in the form of caricatures, slights, or mockery.

Students should never come under personal attack from faculty members for straying from the party line. The fact that they do shows how easily political partisanship can corrupt the elements of higher education that should be valued the most.


(Click on the title for a link to the Christian Science Monitor article.)

Imagine how the professors comment would have been viewed if you substitute "African American" for "Conservative" and "Howard University" for "University of Texas." In any case my guess is there are not that many Republicans at the University of Texas either.Maybe at Texas A&M but not in Austin!