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Wellesley College's Faculty on the Commission for Ethnicity, Race, and Equity just released a statement calling for new speech prohibitions on campus promoting new speech prohibitions at Wellesley. The statement is uniquely troubling for free speech in that it explicitly calls for regulating speech on a content basis, and puts itself forward as a means of vetting possible speakers. Read more →
How do you evaluate whether a campus is “disinviting” speakers? This question has spurred a debate between Michael Hiltzik at the LA Times and the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). Here is Hiltzik’s initial critique of FIRE’s methodology, followed by FIRE’s response, followed by Hiltzik’s counter-response. Read more →
At Princeton University, professors Robert P. George and Cornel West published the statement “Truth Seeking, Democracy, and Freedom of Expression.” Of the 364 current signatories, a majority are American professors, and the roster includes Roger Scruton, Sir Angus Deaton, Peter Singer, and Mary Ann Glendon.
Professor Allison Stanger, who invited Charles Murray to Middlebury, published her reflections on the angry mob at Middlebury.
Frank Bruni, who appeared alongside Jon Haidt on the Charlie Rose Show last week, published an op-ed on the “dangerous safety of college” highlighting Heterodox Academy, which also comments on the events at Middlebury.
From Heterodox Academy:
Heterodox Academy congratulates Northwestern University, home of Laura Kipnis and former home of Alice Dreger, where the student government passed a series of resolutions in favor of viewpoint diversity and freedom from censorship.
Heterodox Academy membership has been steadily growing, as more academics become aware of the many benefits viewpoint diversity provides students, professors, and administrators. In a typical week, however, we add somewhere between 10 and 15 new members, but last week we inducted 53. Though we can’t be certain, this interest was likely motivated by media appearances by co-founder Jonathan Haidt discussing the events at Middlebury College and increased attention on the issue of political orthodoxy on campus. Here are some points to consider about our new members:
1. None of the new members are from Middlebury. This isn’t a knock against Middlebury; I expect some Middlebury professors will join in the near future. But this fact suggests that concern about the Middlebury incident isn’t localized. Even if we expand “local” to mean the Northeast where Middlebury is located, we only find 12 of the 53 new members are from... Read more →
The disruption of Charles Murray’s talk at Middlebury College has been a focal point in the news of late. Here are accounts of what transpired from:Charles Murray Prof. Allison Stanger, who invited Murray Prof. Ata Anzali from the Religion department Prof. Matthew Dickinson from the Political Science department Middlebury undergraduates President of Middlebury College, Laurie Patton
Post-event, more than 25 percent of Middlebury faculty have signed a statement in support of viewpoint diversity and free inquiry.
On Monday, 3/6, Jon Haidt appeared with Frank Bruni on Charlie Rose to discuss Middlebury, viewpoint diversity, and the academy (video available in link).
Other noteworthy news items included an announcement that Northwestern University became the first university to pass a motion calling for more viewpoint diversity on campus.
We also published:Free Inquiry on Campus: A Statement of Principles by a Collection of Middlebury... Read more →
Jonathan Haidt appeared with author and New York Times columnist Frank Bruni on The Charlie Rose Show to discuss recent events surrounding Charles Murray's speaking event at Middlebury College last week. In a far-reaching discussion moderated by Dan Senor filling in for Charlie Rose, Haidt and Bruni analyzed the many causes of the rising illiberalism college campuses, which makes many students and professors reluctant to voice dissenting opinions. Read more →
The student government at Northwestern University made a powerful statement in support of viewpoint diversity as the first school in the United States to pass student-directed resolutions to promote viewpoint diversity and guard against political orthodoxy on campus. Read more →
The statement below has been signed by 53 professors at Middlebury College (UPDATE 3/9: the total is now 89 professors, one emeritus college mental health professional, and one writer-in-residence) and it will be updated with new signatures through March 11. The signatories come from the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. I agree with all of the principles here, but to me, the most notable principles are these:No group of professors or students has the right to act as final arbiter of the opinions that students may entertain. No group of professors or students has the right to determine for the entire community that a question is closed for discussion.
Here is the complete statement:
On March 2, 2017, roughly 100 of our 2500 students prevented a controversial visiting speaker, Dr. Charles Murray, from communicating with his audience on the campus of Middlebury College. Afterwards, a group of unidentified assailants mobbed... Read more →
It is now well known that the American professoriate has been shifting leftward in its politics since the 1990s. In a new report for the Adam Smith Institute, I document that the British professoriate has been undergoing the same leftward shift, beginning in the 1980s. Read more →
Ann Cudd, Dean of Arts and Sciences at Boston University, considers the university’s commitment to free expression in the face of an outraged parent on the Right and outraged students protesters on the Left.
Indian President Pranab Mukherjee spoke about freedom of speech at Indian universities. His remarks came in the week of unrest at Delhi University, Hyderabad Central University, and Jawaharlal Nehru University.
According to the 2017 Free Speech University Rankings from Spiked, 94% of universities in the UK restrict free speech. Speech on two issues is especially restricted: religion and transgenderism.
Last week Van Jones offered the most perfect combination of strong reasons and intuitively compelling metaphors I have ever seen to explain why current campus trends regarding political diversity are bad for students and bad for the American left more generally... You have to watch Jones’ response to get the full power and passion of his remarks. But afterward you might want to see them written out, in order to quote them or tweet them or just meditate on their brilliance. I was not able to find a full and neat transcript online, so I had the staff at Heterodox Academy transcribe the clip and I post it below the video, with a closing comment on anti-fragility. Read more →
Iowa state senator Mark Chelgren is concerned about the problem [of declining political diversity], and he recently introduced a bill in response. The bill mandates that Iowa's public universities not hire any professor whose political party is already the majority (by more than 10%). I believe this bill offers too blunt a solution, and would therefore cause a variety of serious practical and ethical problems if it were implemented. The Iowa bill is apparently triggered by the current political ratio, which, if Iowa is similar to national norms, means it has at least five Democrats for each Republican. Iowa universities would therefore be required to hire only Republicans (or politically unaffiliated professors) until they reach 55/45, which could take decades. Thus, the bill apparently would require political discrimination against qualified Democrats. Whatever your views about the causes of the current imbalance, two wrongs do not make a right... Read more →
John Etchmendy, former provost at Stanford, recently spoke on the educational challenges ahead, noting that intellectual monocultures may be more damaging to universities than external threats:
But I’m actually more worried about the threat from within. Over the years, I have watched a growing intolerance at universities in this country – not intolerance along racial or ethnic or gender lines – there, we have made laudable progress. Rather, a kind of intellectual intolerance, a political one-sidedness, that is the antithesis of what universities should stand for. It manifests itself in many ways: in the intellectual monocultures that have taken over certain disciplines; in the demands to disinvite speakers and outlaw groups whose views we find offensive; in constant calls for the university itself to take political stands. We decry certain news outlets as echo chambers, while we fail to notice the echo chamber we’ve built around ourselves.
This results... Read more →
Overall, while there are still many universities in the United States that impose restrictions on speech, the trends appear to be moving in a direction of fewer limitations from administrators. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for universities in the United Kingdom. Read more →
Aaron Hanlon, English professor at Colby College, was a conservative during his undergraduate years, and has advice for today’s conservative students: don’t see yourself as victims, learn how to convince people who disagree with you, avoid comparing disagreement with suppression, and seek out highly credentialed conservative speakers instead of provocateurs like Milo.
Speaking of Milo, the Chronicle covers how the president of the University of Washington, Ana Mari Cauce, handled requests to disinvite him.
Also in the Chronicle, University of Pennsylvania lecturer Rafael Walker argues that cancelling controversial speakers hurts students by creating echo chambers.
FIRE published its bias response team report, which is the result of a survey of the mandates given to universities’ and colleges’ bias, and the definitions of bias that are used by various institutions.
Catherine Ross, professor of law at George Washington University, argues that we ought to start teaching the principles of... Read more →
In American Universities Must Take a Stand, Leon Botstein, president of Bard College, exhorts universities to take a stand against the Trump administration’s immigration policy and its authoritarianism more broadly.
At Slate reporter Isaac Chotiner has conversation with pro-Trump English professor Mark Bauerlein of Emory University about what he thinks about the Trump administration now.
Conservative and libertarian groups have proposed a campus free-speech bill which would prohibit disinvitations and speech codes at public universities.
The debate around Betsy DeVos’s nomination as Education Secretary revolved around K-12 education, but the Washington Post considers how her leadership will affect US higher education.
On our blog, we published:Campus Speaker Disinvitations: Recent Trends (Part 2 of 2)
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We are a little over a month into 2017 and already last year’s disinvitation outlier, Milo Yiannopoulos, has spurred a number of disinvitation attempts and event disruptions (see here, here, here, and here). Worse still is that violence has erupted at some of these events, including a shooting in Seattle and riots on the University of California’s Berkeley campus. Given the current confrontational campus climate, part 2 of this blog looks at the actual effectiveness of politically motivated speaker disinvitation attempts. These analyses revealed that speaker disinvitation attempts from 2000 to 2016 came primarily from the left of the speaker and occurred most often for controversies over racial issues, views on sexual orientation, and views on Islam. Read more →
Protests at Berkeley have dominated this week’s education news, but evidence suggests that a group of anarchists from outside the Berkeley campus were responsible for the violence, and they attacked Berkeley students who were protesting peacefully.
Michael Hout, a junior at U Mass-Amherst, writes about how the culture of ideological purity among campus liberals led him to distance himself from the College Democrats and co-found The American Moderate.
David Wheeler at The Atlantic has an essay about Donald Trump’s decision to tap the president of Liberty University to lead a task force within the U.S. Department of Education.
The New York Times has a profile of Hillsdale College, “a ‘shining city on a hill’ for conservatives.”
And the College of Charleston can be a case study for the tension between academic freedom and “crudely partisan” class discussions.
On our blog, we published:Microaggressions, Macro Debate by Musa Al-Gharbi
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The concept of microaggressions gained prominence with the publication of Sue et al.’s 2007, “Racial Microaggressions in Everyday Life,” which defined microaggressions as communicative, somatic, environmental or relational cues that demean and/or disempower members of minority groups in virtue of their minority status. Microaggressions, they asserted, are typically subtle and ambiguous. Often, they are inadvertent or altogether unconscious. For these reasons, they are also far more pervasive than other, more overt, forms of bigotry (which are less-tolerated in contemporary America). The authors propose a tripartite taxonomy of microaggressions: Microassaults involve explicit and intentional racial derogation; Microinsults involve rudeness or insensitivity towards another’s heritage or identity; Microinvalidations occur when the thoughts and feelings of a minority group member seem to be excluded, negated or nullified as a result of their minority status. The authors then present anecdotal evidence suggesting that repeated exposure to microaggressions is detrimental to the well-being of minorities. Moreover, they assert, a lack of awareness about the prevalence and impact of microaggressions among mental health professionals could undermine the practice of clinical psychology—reducing the quality and accessibility of care for those who may need it most. Read more →
What can governments do to protect free speech on campus? Stanley Kurtz has a proposal for state-level legislation, which will be presented at The Heritage Foundation on January 31.
The American Association of University Professors (AAUP) and American Federation of Teachers (AFT) have released Frequently Asked Questions for Faculty in the Wake of hte 2106 Election, a faculty cheat sheet to resist threats to academic freedom. The guide, described in this press release, can be found here.
On our blog, we published:Why Viewpoint Diversity Also Matters in the Hard Sciences by Joseph Conlon Campus Speaker Disinvitations: Recent Trends (Part 1 of 2) by Sean Stevens
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Heterodox Academy was founded to encourage viewpoint diversity in the academy. It is clear that research on political hot button topics benefits from viewpoint diversity. What about the hard sciences? These are more objective – the mass of the Higgs boson is uncontroversial in a way that the Affordable Care Act is not. For this reason, viewpoint diversity may not seem important in the hard sciences. If everyone agrees on the laws of nature, and there is no Republican Quantum Mechanics and Democrat Quantum Mechanics, why does it matter if around 90% of scientists are on the political left? There are several reasons why the hard sciences also benefit from viewpoint diversity. Read more →
It happened frequently in 2016- a college club or the school administration invites a speaker but due to pressures from student groups or day-of protests, the event is cancelled and the speaker forced to find alternative venues or issue an apology to disappointed audience members. FIRE recently reported that 2016 featured a record number of disinvitations to speakers from colleges and universities, 46 in total. The previous record of 34 was set in 2013. Such a figure bolsters the case that free speech is being increasingly restricted on college campuses. Yet, a closer inspection reveals that 14 of the 46 disinvitation attempts in 2016 focused on a single target, Milo Yiannopoulos. This suggests that 2016’s record number of disinvitation attempts may not be indicative of an increased level of assault on free speech on college campuses, because the record-setting number may have been driven by one outlier. Fortunately, FIRE maintains a database documenting speaker disinvitation attempts on college campuses starting in the year 2000, allowing for a deeper investigation into campus disinvitation attempts. This is the first of a two-part series on FIRE’s disinvitation data. This post focuses on basic exploratory analyses. Part two focuses on the political motivations behind the disinvitation attempts. Read more →
In “Who’s Really Limiting Free Speech,” Donald P. Moynihan argued against the common conception that it is primarily the left that limits free speech on campus. Letters in response to Moynihan’s Op-Ed are here.
In The Hill, law professor Shannon Gilreath writes about how the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act (“AAA”) of 2016 can help protect Jewish students on campus while also protecting freedom of speech.
Our recent blog posts at Heterodox Academy include:Increasing Economic Diversity on Campus by Jeremy Willinger The institutionalization of Ideology in Sociology by Carl Bankston All I Want For Christmas is Consistent Freedom of Speech by George Yancey Threat to Free Speech Spreads to Australian Campuses by Caroline Mehl
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Increasing viewpoint diversity in the academy offers many benefits. While Heterodox Academy is primarily focused on increasing political diversity to prevent the formation of political orthodoxy, there are many other kinds of diversity that would improve the quality of discourse on campus. One that is sorely lacking, and getting more attention in the last year or two, is economic diversity. A recent piece by HxA member Jonathan Zimmerman of the University of Pennsylvania, published on Philly.com, offers this stunning statistic about his own school, The University of Pennsylvania: Read more →
A research paper by Heterodox Academy member Sam Abrams shows that conservatives professors are at least as happy with their career choiceas their liberal counterparts, and possibly even happier.
Joshua Dunn, also a member of Heterodox Academy, has an editorial in Education Week arguing that policymakers will take academic research more seriously when academia has more political diversity.
Seeking to impose limits on college speech, Arizona lawmaker Bob Thorpe (R) has proposed banning any state university events, classes, and activities that could promote racial resentment. His bill targets things like a “privilege walk” exercise and the “Whiteness and Race Theory” course at Arizona State.
And in Washington, state senator Michael Baumgartner (R-Spokane) announced he will be proposing a bill to block universities from engaging protests targeted at the state of Israel.
No... Read more →
The reason a social justice orientation cannot co-exist with an orientation toward the pursuit of truth is not, then, these present universities with two competing ends. The problem, rather, is the nature of social justice education. By institutionalizing a social and political ideology, this approach takes thought and decision-making away from individuals and imposes a received set of organizational values and ideas. Because the character of the just society is a legitimate topic of debate and not a self-evident truth, an organization devoted to social justice requires its members to assume answers rather than asking questions and stifles freedom of thought. Read more →
On Christmas Eve, professor George Ciccariello-Maher of Drexel tweeted “All I want for Christmas is white genocide.” He later clarified it as satire, invoking a white supremacist meme that refers to race mixing. He really did not want to slaughter whites but wanted to make a point about the alt-right. As someone who has worked hard to promote useful interracial communication, you will excuse me if I characterize his “satire” as extremely distasteful and unnecessarily provocative. His comments suggest to me that he is a professor who wanted sensationalist attention, regardless of the effect his comments have on inhibiting healthy interracial relationships and exacerbating our racial divide. Read more →
While the mission of Heterodox Academy is focused on the threats to viewpoint diversity and free expression on American campuses, in November we explored the emergence of parallel trends in the United Kingdom. This phenomenon has also reached Australia, where a May 2016 report by the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) highlights the extent to which free speech has come under threat at ninety-eight percent of Australian universities. Below is a summary of IPA’s methodology, key findings, and examples of university actions that affect their free speech ratings. Read more →
When a professor offends a specific group of students, some students may assume that the professor also intends to discriminate against them. Law professors Eugene Volokh argues against this assumption, noting that vast swaths of political and religious criticism would be off limits if offense were considered equivalent to discrimination.
More than 12,000 professors asked to have their names added to the Professor Watchlist through petitions on freeacademics.net and the American Association of University Professors website. Read our statement against the Professor Watchlist.
In a critique of the Chicago Principles, Tom Lindsay at Forbes argues that such principles should not be grounded in university tradition, as at Chicago, but rather because freedom has intrinsic value.
The mission of Heterodox Academy (HxA) is “to improve viewpoint diversity in the academy.” We have repeatedly shown that viewpoint diversity--particularly political diversity--has been declining since the 1990s, and that improvements in viewpoint diversity are likely to improve the quality of research and education that universities deliver. We have had a very successful first 16 months in pursuit of this mission, since our launch in September of 2015. We grew from 25 members at the start of 2016 to 348 members today, and our membership is drawn from across the political spectrum, as you can see in the table below. Heterodox Academy is now among the most politically diverse organizations in the academy, and our members have modeled the kind of wide-ranging inquiry and civil disagreement that has traditionally characterized academic life at its best. I think the presidential election has produced three changes that are particularly relevant to our mission... I therefore suggest that HxA focus its efforts on two priorities for 2017... Read more →
A Happy New 2017 to all our visitors! Here are the top 10 blog posts of last year, measured by the number of page views:
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Professor Mike Spivey describes his experience serving as the lone conservative on a post-election panel at the University of Puget Sound.
In response to Nicholas Kristof’s piece about echo chambers on campus, Elizabeth Lehfeldt published an open letter in which she argues against mis-representations of what college campuses are like today.
Jonathan Gold writes about teaching in the post-truth era.
Catherine Rampell, opinion writer at the Washington Post, notes that the campus right also shuts down free speech.
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This is the third installment of a conversation among a diverse group of academics, each focused on a single question about the election and its aftermath. Read more →
This is the second installment of a conversation among a diverse group of academics, each focused on a single question about the election and its aftermath. trump, politics, jussim, yancy, woessner, Read more →
This is the first installment of a conversation among a diverse group of academics, each focused on an important issue about the 2016 election and its aftermath. See part 2.
Introduction (by Lee Jussim):
In response to a presidential election filled with hyperbole and vitriol, several of us – with a wide variety of political perspectives and identifications – decided that it might be of some value to have a calm, reasoned discussion about both the election and its aftermath.
Since the election, campuses have been hit with a double whammy. Many people on the left have been shocked, disappointed, and angered by the election, and for good reasons. The choice between major candidates was stark. The left won the popular vote but lost the electoral vote, and was bitterly disappointed. Much of Trump’s rhetoric was crude and degrading; much was beyond the bounds of normal electoral politics; some... Read more →
Previous blog posts at Heterodox Academy have discussed the rising homogeneity of political identities among professors at universities within the United States. Sam Abrams explored how the left-to-right ratio has increased over the past 25 years, particularly at colleges and universities in New England. I have also reviewed work by Honeycutt and Freberg (2016) which suggested that conservatives experience a more hostile climate in academia than moderates or progressives. Recently, Mitchell Langbert, Anthony Quain, and Daniel Klein published their findings on faculty voter registration in the fields of economics, history, journalism, law, and psychology. Their work is now the most recent snapshot we have of the politics of American professors. This blog post briefly summarizes their methodology, findings, and conclusions.Related posts: A Letter to Future Conservative Professors Read more →
Shortly after the election of Donald Trump, I spoke to my class about the need to respect political diversity, which is part of the human condition, without falling into the trap of false equivalence, in which all political parties are considered equal. This essay “To My Undergraduate Class on the 2016 Election” is a fuller version of the lecture I delivered.
Two Princeton professors at opposing ends of the political spectrum, Robert George and Cornel West, discussed the meaning of a true liberal arts education in an AEI-sponsored discussion. You can find the video at AEI and a review of Robert George’s explanation for the silencing of conservative views in academia at Conservative Review.
Norman Uphoff, professor of government and agriculture at Cornell, reflected on his career as a heterodox professor fighting an uphill battle against a mainstream scientific community.
...But if you are a progressive professor who wants to strengthen the left in the long run, raise the credibility and federal funding of universities during a time of Republican dominance, and improve the reliability of the social science research upon which nearly all progressive reforms depend, then now, more than ever, is the time to join HxA. Here is the case for joining and supporting Heterodox Academy, as made by three prominent voices from the left. Read more →
Why was the modern research university created? In his latest book Organizing Enlightenment: Information Overload and the Invention of the Modern Research University, Chad Wellmon, Associate Professor of German Studies and History at the University of Virginia, tackles this question, arguing that the research university was a technology created to assuage anxieties about a surfeit of scientific knowledge. In Wellmon’s account, the research university arose as an alternative to previous technologies that were invented to solve this problem, but which failed. My goal in this blog post is to selectively summarize Organizing Enlightenment, and explain its relevance to the mission of Heterodox Academy. (In the interest of full disclosure, I should note that Chad is an undergraduate classmate and friend of mine.)
In Europe, the problem of excess information manifested itself during the 18th century, during which there was an explosion of periodicals. In the period between 1700... Read more →
On December 6th, Texas A&M University will play host to Richard Spencer, a leader of the “alt-right” movement, and an open white supremacist. Many will likely view Spencer’s presence at Texas A & M as confirmation that Donald Trump’s election to the presidency has allowed fringe political views to enter mainstream discussion. When Spencer, or someone like him, makes a statement like “America was, until this last generation, a white country, designed for ourselves and our posterity. It is our creation and our inheritance, and it belongs to us,” many people may question why we should remain committed to the First Amendment. This post argues why members of an academic community need to remain steadfast in that commitment, even when faced with a figure like Richard Spencer. Read more →
In time for Thanksgiving, we released the Heterodox Holiday Placemat.
Our executive team also released a joint statement, its first such statement, to condemn the professor watchlist by Turning Point USA. The watchlist was also condemned by PEN America. Robert Mather at Psychology Today had another perspective, and Rod Dreher’s story at the American Conservative includes a noteworthy reader update at the end (UPDATE.2).
Meanwhile, Nature entreated its readers to combat political confirmation bias, especially because of its impact on conservative perspectives.
International students add to the viewpoint diversity at many campuses, and Moody’s Investors Services estimates the Trump presidency will restrict the flow of international students coming to the United States,
These past two weeks, we published these blog posts:On the Role of the Public Intellectual in the United States Introducing the Heterodox Holiday Placemat
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We at Heterodox Academy believe viewpoint diversity is vital to the academy and we support reasoned debate, discussion and engagement of different perspectives. So, when we saw that HXA member Robert Mather of the University of Central Oklahoma had published a response to the Professor Watchlist in Psychology Today that offered an alternative view of our statement, we wanted to feature his take and encourage your response.
From his article:
The Executive Team of the Heterodox Academy (2016) condemned the Professor Watchlist in a statement. Laudable, but this is an example of being out of touch with conservative students and faculty. Conservative students and faculty have been marginalized in the ivory tower. I agree with the Heterodox Academy that such a watchlist does not facilitate collegial discourse. Indeed, this watchlist is a response to events such as the bias... Read more →
A guest post by Preston Stovall, member of the academic precariat, and currently an adjunct instructor at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, a researcher with Studium Consulting, and a Visiting Scholar at the University of Pittsburgh.
One doesn’t have to look long or hard to see contentious divisions in American society today. From punditry and political debate to the polarization of both old and new media outlets, contemporary American life is riven with factionalism. As a consequence, Americans often find it hard to talk to and understand one another. This difficulty, in turn, redounds on our capacity for collective action. In failing to grasp the reasons and values that motivate our fellow citizens, we find it hard to come together and work toward common ends with them. For sympathy of the sort that makes for common cause cannot be had without understanding.
If that is right,... Read more →
Turning Point USA has recently launched its “Professor Watchlist,” with the declared mission “to expose and document college professors who discriminate against conservative students, promote anti-American values, and advance leftist propaganda in the classroom.”... We think that this project will only exacerbate a problem we are trying to address at Heterodox Academy: professors and students are increasingly afraid of voicing and debating opinions in the classroom. For this reason, we--the executive committee of Heterodox Academy--believe that Professor Watchlist is pernicious and misguided... We call on everyone who is concerned about the state of higher education to stop devising ways that members of an academic community can report or punish each other for classroom speech. Read more →
Heterodox Academy is consistently looking to produce resources that can help people understand others with whom they disagree politically. After a divisive election season, we are proud to offer a new tool for stimulating empathy and conversation this holiday season, or any other season. The Heterodox Holiday Placemat is a free, downloadable resource for advancing discussions about viewpoint diversity around the dining table. Great conversations and new insights happen when people who see things differently come together in a context that promotes civility and mutual respect- something we desperately need in America right now. Read more →
At UNC Chapel Hill, Ryan Thornburg analyzes claims that his colleague Michael Jacobs made about a lack of viewpoint diversity at UNC, arguing that political donations are not a good way to track the partisanship of professors.
The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities convened this week, opening with a keynote discussion entitled “Balancing Freedom of Expression and Diversity on Campuses.”
Robin DeRosa, Director of Interdisciplinary Studies at Plymouth State University, took to Twitter to ask academics for statements that their university presidents made about the election. She writes about the statements she received here.
On our blog, Sean Stevens wrote about how Spiked ranks UK universities for free speech.
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Heterodox Academy has primarily focused on the academy’s problem with viewpoint diversity within the United States. Yet, viewpoint diversity is increasingly an issue in other Western countries- most prominently in the United Kingdom. For the past two years, Spiked has ranked British universities with a traffic-light system for free speech, similar to the systems employed by FIRE and ISI. This blog post briefly summarizes the criteria employed by Spiked and presents some examples university policies and actions that can result in lower (RED) or higher (GREEN) rankings for free speech.
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At the University of Pennsylvania, an alternative media publication placed a large “free speech” beach ball on campus on which students could write their political opinions, however controversial.
Graham Ambrose, a junior history major at Yale, describes what has changed since protests shook Yale a year ago.
And George Mason University reaffirmed that the way to combat speech is through more speech:
Although the University supports your right to express discontent in a lawful manner, it is also obligated to uphold the rights of those who visit our campus to engage in constitutionally protected activities. You most certainly can counter speech you are offended by with your own speech.... Read more →
[Note: This essay was posted on Nov. 1, 2016, based on information available at the time. Since then the story has gotten more complicated. Based on Rectenwald’s followup essay in the Washington Post, Nov. 3, it seems that he was not “suspended,” but that he is in trouble with his department and his dean for his twitter activity, and that it was suggested to him that he take a paid leave of absence. But a spokesman for NYU says that Rectenwald originally requested the leave himself, and he links to email correspondence consistent with that claim. We don’t yet know whether NYU acted improperly. But we leave Jussim’s original post below because we believe it makes the valid point that aggressive, uncivil, and even obscene language that supports the dominant political viewpoint is widely accepted; similar language that critiques the dominant viewpoint will elicit, at least, a rebuke from the “Diversity, Equity... Read more →
In a Yale Daily News survey of undergraduates, three out of four respondents agreed that Yale does not provide a welcoming environment for conservative students to share their opinions on political issues. Nearly 95 of self-identified conservatives said that Yale does not welcome their opinions.
“My Halloween email led to a campus firestorm — and a troubling lesson about self-censorship.” writes Erika Christakis. On the first anniversary of the Yale Halloween dustup. Christakis reflects on what she learned about the Yale community, and explains her choice to resign her Yale position.
This week’s blog posts at Heterodox Academy:Rigorous Intentional Inclusion by Marisela Martinez-Cola The Heterodox Academy Guide to Colleges: Starting A Methodological Discussion by Jeremy Willinger We Champion, Racial, and Ethnic Diversity: Why Not Viewpoint Diversity by Jeremy Willinger, a commentary on this piece by Clay Routledge at Scientific American
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HXA member Dr. Clay Routledge, social psychologist and professor of Psychology at North Dakota State University, has crafted an important and informative piece in Scientific American on the lack of viewpoint diversity when we champion diversity on campus.
Routledge gets right into the main issue, that “Conservatives have little influence in the scholarly disciplines that have the most to say about social and cultural life, family, and mental health.” Before readers think this is an anti-Liberal screed, it is anything but because the lack of viewpoint diversity on campus diminishes opportunities by all students to develop deeper understanding and solidified opinions based on exchange, engagement and empathy.
Some may not see why this is a problematic concern but Routledge deftly outlines why this matters for both college students and professors- as well as those outside campus environs.
Firstly, as Routledge point out, “The problem is how the personal... Read more →
A week ago Heterodox Academy released the preliminary version of our Guide to Colleges– a unique resource that ranks the top 150 schools as listed by US News and World Report on whether the intellectual climate on campus is free, open, and vibrant, or whether it is dominated by political conformity.
The information collected is then used to produce a Heterodox Academy Score (HxA Score), ranging from 0 (high levels of political conformity and orthodoxy) to 100 (low levels of political conformity and orthodoxy). You can see more on our methodology page.
In the week since the guide’s release, we’ve received number of excellent questions about the methodology and suggestions about how we can improve it to better capture each school’s campus climate. We delve into several of these suggestions, with the goal of starting an open discussion about the guide’s methodology.
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This guest post is by Marisela Martinez-Cola, a doctoral student in sociology at Emory University and instructor of sociology at Oglethorpe University.
“What would you say if I told you I own a gun?”
This is how I began a lecture called “The Soap Operas of Sociology” for my Introduction to Sociology course. After a brief pause, I was met with a variety of responses. Some students say, “Good for you!” Others look in disbelief.
Then, I ask the following questions: “What if I told you that I participate in sharp shooting competitions? Or that my brother-in-law is a gunsmith and we bond by going to a shooting range? Or that I was a victim of crime and simply felt safer having a gun? Would any of those reasons make you feel less shocked or better about why I own a gun?” Some students nodded yes, while others indicated... Read more →
Students at Western Carolina University protested against the creation of free speech zones, proposing that free speech be allowed at all places on the campus.
PEN released a report on the state of free speech on college campuses, reaching a more sanguine conclusion than FIRE.The New York Times covered the report’s release, A critical response was published by Robby Soave at Reason magazine. Jim Sleeper defends the report and criticizes FIRE.
We had a noteworthy week at Heterodox Academy, publishing:Why Universities Must Choose One Telos by Jonathan Haidt Introducing the Heterodox Academy Guide to Colleges by Jeremy Willinger Why is Wonder Alien to Social Psychology? by Collin Barnes
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What is the telos (goal or purpose) of university? The most obvious answer is “truth” –- the word appears on so many university crests. But increasingly, many of America’s top universities are embracing social justice as their telos, or as a second and equal telos. But can any institution or profession have two teloses (or teloi)? What happens if they conflict? [Short essay and long video lecture by Jonathan Haidt, at Duke University, using moral and social psychology to explain what's been happening on American college campuses for the past year] Read more →
October has been dubbed College Application Month by a number of states (Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan and several others). As prospective students begin filling out forms and looking to see which campuses fit their idea of a supportive and robust learning and social environment, they look to a range of guides and ranking systems.
While many of these ranking systems include the traditional metrics about acceptance rate, student-faculty ratio and more, they cannot tell you whether the intellectual climate is vibrant, varied, and free, or whether it is conformist and politicized. Now, there is a resource that does.
Introducing the Heterodox Academy Guide to Colleges made up of the top 150 national universities from US News & World Report college ranking guide (as of May 8, 2016). Incorporating a variety of metrics and factors, each school is given a “Heterodox Academy Score” factoring in:Endorsement of the Chicago... Read more →
Guest post by HXA member Collin D. Barnes, assistant professor of Psychology at Hillsdale College
In a prominent textbook that I have used with students, Michael Shermer is quoted as saying,
“I’m a skeptic not because I do not want to believe but because I want to know. I believe the truth is out there. But how can we tell the difference between what we would like to be true and what is actually true? The answer is science.”
I believe that the unbridled skepticism Shermer expresses is at the heart of education in social psychology and that it has given rise to a belief that what we think about ourselves and our lives together cannot be held with any confidence until objective, scientific insight into these problems is obtained. The result of taking such a stance on our knowledge in this realm is that we become... Read more →
Heterodox Academy began 13 months ago as a collaboration of 23 professors and two grad students who had been writing about issues related to viewpoint diversity and political orthodoxy in the academy. In July we opened up membership to any tenured professor, not just in the USA but in other English speaking countries as well. We limited new memberships to full (tenured) professors because assistant (untenured) professors are much more vulnerable if they “stick their necks out” for what some may see as an unpopular cause.
We received a flood of interest. Our membership is now approaching 200 full professors, including a Nobel Prize winner, former presidents of the ACLU and the American Psychological Association, prominent authors, and a variety of names that you’ll recognize. Our membership is well balanced among professors who self-describe as progressive, conservative, centrist, and libertarian.
Now that we have established a reputation as a collaboration... Read more →
Freshmen at James Madison University were taught that “We’re all part of the human race” and “I treat all people the same” are two of the 35 things that students should avoid saying.
University of California president Janet Napolitano wrote an op-ed in the Boston Globe about the history and value of defending free speech on campuses.
And First Things reviewed Jon Shields and Joshua M. Dunn Sr.’s Passing on the Right: Conservative Professors in the Progress University.
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It’s hard to feel sympathy for helicopter parents. Since their emergence, the media have criticized them, popular novels have caricatured them, and trade publications have offered advice on how to cope with them. They are blamed for creating a culture of coddling, a culture that has also produced speech codes and bias response teams. Amidst this din, some crucial questions have been neglected. Is everyone becoming a helicopter parent? What are helicopter parents actually doing? Most importantly, should we see helicopter parents as over-controlling neurotics or rational actors who trying to cope with new challenges? These questions matter for heterodox academics because their demands can be misinterpreted as attempts to protect their children from all types of discomfort, when their true motives are of a different nature.Related posts: Academic Freedom in an Age of Conformity: Confronting the Fear of... Read more →
When hearing testimony on financial regulation, we like to know whether the expert has a vested interest. We like to know of commitments that affect interpretation and judgment.
An individual’s ideological commitments are like vested interests, only deeper and more permanent. They are like his religious commitments, running deep and changing little. They suffuse his professional and personal relationships, his sense of self, his sacred beliefs and sacred causes. They are religious, in Emile Durkheim’s broad sense of the term religion.
In his 2014 book The Sacred Project of American Sociology, Christian Smith excavates the sacred beliefs and sacred causes of American sociology, and declares his own. Very refreshing!
There is a lot to be said for declaring your sacred beliefs. Do you not like to know where the speaker stands?
Some say: Don’t wear your politics on your sleeve: Just be truthful. But truthfulness leaves things... Read more →
“Without tenure, professors become terrified sheep,” Alice Dreger argues in Aeon magazine.
Heterodox Academy member Gerard Alexander writes about real academic diversity in National Affairs.
At our own blog, Sean Stevens summarizes new research on political prejudice among professors, showing that both progressive and conservative professors disfavor the hiring of people who don’t share their political views.
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Are progressive academics openly hostile and discriminatory towards their conservative colleagues? Could such hostility help explain the well-known discrepancy between progressive* and conservative faculty members on college campuses?
Initial research published by Yoel Inbar and Joris Lammers in 2012 suggested that the answer to these questions is yes – at least among social and personality psychologists. Specifically, a sample of social and personality psychologists reported a greater willingness to actively discriminate against conservative colleagues. The small number of conservative social and personality psychologists sampled also reported experiencing a more hostile climate within their department.
Yet, there are a number of plausible hypotheses that can explain the ideological discrepancy between progressives and conservatives within academia. These hypotheses include:The self-selection hypothesis: Conservatives may self-select out of academia (see Gross, 2013) because for a variety of reasons that include being less interested in new ideas or possessing... Read more →
At a New York University debate, Shikha Dalmia made the case for preserving free speech on campuses, and in the United States more broadly. She debated Jeremy Waldron, author of “The Harm of Hate Speech.” Dalmia published an excerpt from her side of the debate here.
Glenn Loury was interviewed on what the campus conversation on race gets right and what it gets wrong.
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Heterodox Academy is proud to launch our online shop with shirts, mugs, stickers, buttons and other swag to help support and promote viewpoint diversity on campus. While there is a high variety of items, the cost is low to make them available to anyone who is looking to support free speech, free inquiry and free expression in higher education.
Looking for additional ways to get involved with Heterodox Academy?Help make your school a Heterodox University/College Share our College Care Pack with new students Apply to join our collaboration (tenured professors only at this time) Like us on Facebook and Follow us on Twitter Related posts: Professors moved left since 1990s, rest of... Read more →
Do you have any friends or family members who are just starting college this fall? If so, Heterodox Academy’s “College Care Pack” is a useful resource to share.
Bringing the right attitude — including a spirit of curiosity about other perspectives, and humility about one’s own knowledge — will help promote viewpoint diversity and enable students to get the most out of college.Which will be America’s first Heterodox University? Read more →
The New York Times hosted a debate about whether trigger warnings work, with debaters Elena Newman of the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma, Sofie Karasek of End Rape on Campus, and Richard J. McNally, author of Remembering Trauma.
At Academe Blog, John K. Wilson writes about a troubling development at UC-Berkeley. Dean Carla Hesse cancelled a class on Palestine due to external political pressure and blamed the cancellation on an ostensible violation of policies even though no such violation occurred.
New research by Jean Twenge and colleagues shows that high school seniors today are more likely to identify as politically independent, rather than Democratic or Republican, and more likely to identify as conservative compared... Read more →
As part of our one year anniversary celebration, we engaged our membership to envision how the academy might look in 2025. We got a lot of engaging and interesting responses from a range of perspectives, reflecting the diversity in political affiliations of our members.
Turning our attention to our readership, we brainstormed how to provide a way to show support for viewpoint diversity. Then it hit us: Offer a badge for posting on social media, office doors, cubicles and meeting rooms!
So, we proudly present the Heterodox Academy Viewpoint Diversity Badge. Click the link to download web and print versions and learn about a fun way to broadcast your support.
Related posts: Which will be America’s first Heterodox University? Support Viewpoint Diversity at the HXA Shop ... Read more →
Heterodox Academy turns one year old today. To mark the occasion, we’re publishing our members’ answers to a simple question: "What change would you like to see in universities or in your academic field by 2025?". Our membership is politically diverse, but as you'll see below, we have a widely shared desire to protect and restore norms of vigorous and civil disagreement. We want everyone to be able to speak up, and our members offer a variety of suggestions for strengthening freedom of inquiry and norms of good scholarship. Steve Pinker, Nadine Strossen, Glenn Loury, Rick Shweder, Phil Tetlock, and more... Read more →
Brown University and Claremont McKenna College joined the University of Chicago in defending the importance of free speech. DePaul University went further by organizing a year-long series of speeches to discuss race and free speech. The series “will offer perspectives across the political spectrum on various topics including race, free speech and hate speech, and the current political climate.”
Greg Lukianoff responded to Jim Sleeper’s New York Times editorial, which falsely accused Lukianoff and FIRE of wrongdoing. And Nick Gillespie responded to Sleeper’s accusation that the free market created political correctness. (UPDATE, Sep. 14: See Jim Sleeper’s comment below.)
Heterodox Academy members Jonathan Zimmerman published an editorial in the Philadelphia Inquirer, “Diversity, not dogma, on college campuses.”
Heterodox Academy celebrates its 1st anniversary tomorrow. Our inaugural blog post was published on September 10 last year and our second post, on September 14, was a summary of the big review paper about political diversity in psychology. Tomorrow, we’re publishing... Read more →
This is a guest post by Professor Aaron Kindsvatter, associate professor at the College of Education, University of Vermont. Earlier this year, I read that at Northern Colorado University conversations about gender identity were shut down to spare the feelings of a student who was offended. Moreover, the professor overseeing the class was investigated by the Northern Colorado University Bias Response Team. I believe that open discussions about gender identity are necessary to decrease hostility against sexual minorities, because prejudicial beliefs can be interrogated rather than be suppressed, and was disappointed that such discussions were being shut down. Upon checking the bias response policy at my own university, the University of Vermont, I felt compelled to write the following open letter. Read more →
Also in The Atlantic, Conor Friedersdorf writes about how the fear of reprisals led to the cancellation at Syracuse of a screening of The Settlers, a documentary about the religious settler movement in the West Bank. Friedersdorf also published this appraisal of the Chicago letter.
Iowa State renamed the area of their campus known as “the free speech zone” to Agora, which means public gathering place. This change makes it clear that the entire campus is, in fact, a free speech zone.
Finally, at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the Chancellor gave mixed messages to students about whether the campus supports or does not support free speech.
At Heterodox Academy, Jonathan Haidt published a Back-To-School video playlist for first-year college students.
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Do you want to get the most out of your college experience and emerge smarter, emotionally stronger, and more self-sufficient when you graduate? Then be sure to watch these three videos. Read more →
Law professor Geoffrey R. Stone covers the history of threats to free speech, and opines on how recent campus controversies should have been handled.
Science writer Maria Konnikova contests the purported findings that personality traits cause political attitudes.
In a letter to new students, the University of Chicago dean John (Jay) Ellison declared that the university does not support trigger warnings or condone safe spaces. Jesse Singal explains the national context behind this letter. You can find other praise and criticism here.
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In 1988 Frank Smith made an interesting observation. He realized that what children learned was not the result of formal instruction. A teacher, even a very good teacher, seemed to have limited influence on what was or was not picked-up by students: Two students could be in all the same classes and one might develop correct grammar while another might not.
So what caused one student to learn more or less than the other if they both had the same teachers? According to Smith, the students didn’t really learn through instruction or even conscious emulation. Instead, they acquired the characteristics of people they considered themselves to be like. It was this sense of “joining the club” that seemed to account for the students’ learning. So what really made the difference between whether Jayden or Olivia learned grammar was... Read more →
Calling all college students: Do you love the intellectual climate on your campus? Or do you sometimes wish that a broader range of viewpoints was represented in the classroom, and by invited speakers? Heterodox Academy is launching an initiative to assist students who want greater viewpoint diversity on campus. Working with students at several universities, we have drafted three short resolutions that you can use or modify as you please. If you would like to reduce political orthodoxy at your school, then please consider introducing a resolution to your student government to declare your school a “Heterodox University.” The first school to do so will earn a great deal of positive media attention, attract a much larger number of applicants, and gain a national reputation for independent thinking. It will also have a much more open and exciting intellectual climate. Read more →
In The Atlantic, Emily Deruy describes about selective segregation on campus in light the now retracted course at Moraine Valley Community College that was exclusively for black students.
Exemplifying how not to improve viewpoint diversity, Milo Yiannopoulos collected money for a promised college scholarship for white males but deposited all the money in his personal account.
I was interviewed about heterodoxy and viewpoint diversity by The Best Schools, a guide to higher education.
The British site Spiked Online published a satirical fresher’s guide to free speech on campus.
Ravi Iyer, the executive director of civilpolitics.org, wrote about which attitudes change and which attitudes remain the same after debates about the tension between free speech and sensitivity to minorities.
In the past week, we published a blog post about a possible connection between a rise in campus protests and the drop in alumni donations.
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Heterodox Academy was founded at a time during which issues of free speech and censorship were playing out on college campuses nationwide. While we appreciated the issues being brought to the table, many of us also marveled at the hostile and exclusionary methods used to bring them into focus. As it turns out, so did many alumni who have since decreased their support to many universities where these protests and requests for censorship were taking place.
In a recent New York Times article “College Students Protest, Alumni’s Fondness Fades and Checks Shrink,” Anemona Hartocollis writes about the backlash from alumni as “an unexpected aftershock of the campus disruptions of the last academic year.” More than just a reaction, this is a repudiation of the tactics used by students and of the capitulation by administrators.
From the piece:
Alumni from a range of generations say they are baffled by... Read more →
And Hamilton College instituted a new diversity requirement. At Inside Higher Ed, Colleen Flaherty reviews faculty reactions to this change.
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As political events in Europe and America got stranger and more violent over the last year, I found myself thinking of the phrase “things fall apart; the center cannot hold.”... As Yeats said, much of the problem is that "the worst are full of passionate intensity." I used this phrase as the leitmotif of a talk I gave last week at the American Psychological Association’s annual convention, in Denver where I offered my most complete statement yet on the causes and consequences of political polarization. I focused on the causes of America’s political dysfunction and then extended the analysis to Europe as well. Something is going wrong in Western liberal democracies; there is something we’re not understanding. But as long as I had the opportunity to address the largest gathering of psychologists in the world, I wanted to extend the analysis to psychology too. I showed how we, as a field, have gotten politically polarized, as with so many other academic disciplines and so many other professions and institutions. We have become part of the problem, and it is damaging our science and our ability to help our clients, patients, and students. I proposed that we must fix ourselves before we can become part of the solution. [Full video: 54 minutes] Read more →
The Chicago Tribune has an editorial about free-speech battles at DePaul University, where the former president, the Rev. Dennis Holtschneider, staked out a free-speech position while also apologizing for the consequences of certain speeches.
Today’s New York Times has a report on how alumni donations have been waning in the wake of college protests. Although their analysis only draws from 35 small, selective liberal-arts colleges, they find a general decline in the number of donors from 2015 to 2016.
The New York Times also reviewed the history of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), from its founding in 1999 through the current decade.
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Heterodox Academy began in September 2015 as a collaboration of 25 professors who were actively studying and writing about viewpoint diversity in the social sciences. In our first 9 months we produced 112 blog posts that attracted 350,000 readers to the site.
Along the way we got many requests from other professors who wanted to join, even though they were not studying viewpoint diversity directly. At the same time, the climate for free speech on many campuses seems to have worsened. And not just in America, but in the UK and Australia as well. In response, we decided to open up membership to any tenured professor in any field who is willing to endorse this statement:
“I believe that university life requires that people with diverse viewpoints and perspectives encounter each other in an environment where they feel free to speak up and challenge each other. I am... Read more →
FIRE intern and student activist Erin Dunne advocated for drug reform and marijuana legalization at the University of Michigan. As a result she was fired from Residence Staff. Dunne writes about how this experience helped her gain appreciation for freedom of speech.
California State University, Los Angeles, changed its speech code to avoid a lawsuit in which CSULA was accused of limiting free speech by adding a security fee for controversial speakers. In another victory for free speech, Danny LeDonne (and ACLU) won a suit against his former employer Adams State University, who characterized his criticism of the university as “harassment” and “terrorism.
Finally, there’s little transparency in the work of bias response teams, but here’s a transcript of a bias response team conversation with a censored professor at the University of Northern Colorado. The professor, who wishes to remain anonymous, said “We had a cordial visit, but Parks [the administrator] definitely used... Read more →
HXA member John McWhorter published a thought provoking (and provocative) piece in The Chronicle of Higher Education this week. It is behind a paywall, but we wanted to convey some of the key ideas to our audience. The article posits that the ongoing call for a conversation about race is more about the need for conversion of thought, rather than a true exchange of ideas.
The current mantra, McWhorter explains, is that “until we have that conversation, tragic disparities in income, education, employment, and health care will persist between blacks and other Americans.” He continues by pointing out that there is an idea in this country “that on race there is always a shoe that hasn’t dropped, that a certain vaguely articulated Great Day has yet to come in which whites realize their culpability [in the aforementioned disparities] and in some way act upon it…”
McWhorter contextualizes... Read more →
Political orthodoxy and lack of viewpoint diversity in the academy is now a well known problem, thanks in large part to Heterodox Academy and the many scholars who contribute to the site. Yet even Jonathan Haidt–one of the more productive combatants of this growing trend–will admit that intolerance to opposing ideas and the spread of victimhood culture “has its roots in high school” (see Haidt’s The Yale Problem Begins in High School). While Haidt discusses experiences he had with faculty and students at elite schools, as an English teacher at a public high school, I can personally attest that the problem has also been exacerbated by public education policy and the implementation of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS).
First, a bit of background. In 2009, Race to the Top, a $4.35 billion competitive grant funded by the Education Recovery Act, incentivized states to adopt the CCSS. Opting-in would... Read more →
This post was originally published at Psychology Today.
A few months ago, I posted a blog post that raised the question, “What explains racial, gender, and other group-based gaps?” After acknowledging the existence of all sorts of gaps across all sorts of groups, I ended that blog post posing this question:
If a university admitted 70% of the men who applied, and only 30% of the women who applied, and the men and women were exactly equally qualified, would that be conclusive evidence that that university was engaging in sex discrimination?
The answer is “no.” Before I explain why, let’s have some fun first by giving a concrete example of why answering this type of question is so important.
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This is a guest post by Russell Jacoby from the Department of History at UCLA.
Professor Jussim has asked me to comment on the rejoinder to my piece “Academe is Overrun by Liberals. So What?” (Chronicle of Higher Education, April 1, 2016), which he authored with Professors Woessner and Crawford. In the spirit of collegiality, I will make a few points, beginning with the observation that the headline for the essay was, of course, not my own—and does not capture its drift. Yes, certain fields at certain schools are “overrun” by liberals, but I am not convinced this is generally true—or generally matters. I noted that almost all the studies I have seen on faculty political loyalties focus on the humanities and social sciences, and exclude medical, science, engineering, and business schools, which is where the real clout resides. Why this exclusion? Woessner, et al have nothing to say about... Read more →
Does philosophy have a woman problem? The pattern of degrees, and evidence from hiring, suggests that the answer is no. Video, transcript and evidence, from Christina Hoff Sommers. In 2014, women earned 28% of the PhDs in philosophy. By contrast, they earned close to 60% in English, anthropology, and sociology—and 75% in psychology. When it comes to gender, philosophy looks more like math and physics. What explains the numbers?... Read more →
I am a professor at Brown University. The WeTheInternet (WTI) video describes events at that will alarm anyone who cares about higher education and, especially, those of us who care deeply about Brown. The central conflict presented is roughly (and, I would say, purportedly) between the values of free inquiry and social justice.
At Brown, as elsewhere, each of those values has a long and complex history. The recent events at Brown did not come out of nowhere. Different people might tell the history that led to these events in sharply divergent ways. I would like to share my perspective on recent events at Brown. By sharing my story, I hope to help readers of this blog deepen their understanding... Read more →
HXA member Howard Schwartz, Emeritus Professor at Oakland University in Michigan, provides readers an advanced chapter from his upcoming book Political Correctness and the Destruction of Social Order: Chronicling the Rise of the Pristine Self by Palgrave Macmillan. The book develops a psychoanalytic theory of political correctness and the pristine self, which is a self touched by nothing but love. It explores the damage that they can do to social order. Applications include the breakdown of social capital, the financial crisis, the English riots of 2011, and Occupy Wall Street. The conclusion analyses the recent debacle at Yale.
A version of the chapter on the racial hoax at Oberlin was presented as the paper we link below during the 2015 meeting of the International Society for the Psychoanalytic Study of Organizations.
Paper Abstract: It is often alleged that American society is racist, even though it is acknowledged that overt expressions... Read more →
Alice Dreger, author of Galileo’s Middle Finger, gave the keynote address at this year’s FIRE Student Network Conference. If you can’t watch the whole thing, jump to 29:00 to hear her summary and conclusion.Related posts: Centerville Students Debate Coddle U Choosing the Right College: The Intercollegiate Studies Institute Guide Campus Speaker Disinvitations: Recent trends (Part 1 of 2) Campus Speaker Disinvitations: Recent Trends (Part 2 of 2) Read more →
A study on conservatism and “psychoticism” was retracted (UPDATE: corrected with an published erratum) earlier this year, when the researchers reported that they wrongly coded a variable. Their data actually showed a positive correlation between liberalism and “psychoticism.” Psychoticism here simply means less respect for rules and order, and hence the scare quotes. Jesse Singal investigated further, and has a new story on why it took four years for the retraction to occur.
The Aspen Ideas Festival and The Atlantic hosted a debate entitled “Academic Freedom, Safe Spaces, Dissent, and Dignity,” with representatives from Yale, Wesleyan, Mizzou, and the University of Chicago. Also present were Jonathan Greenblatt of the ADAL; Kirsten Powers, author of The Silencing: How the Left Is Killing Free Speech; and Greg Lukianoff, president and CEO of FIRE. Conor Friedersdorf reported on the highlights of the debate for The Atlantic.
Are the free-speech attitudes of college students also found in the population at large? Foundation... Read more →
Brooklyn College professor Mitchell Langbert published an investigation of the academic field of Industrial Relations (known as IR). Langert’s article appeared in Econ Journal Watch, which I edit. He used voter-registration data, political contributions data, and journal content analysis to show the left orientation of the field. IR scholars tend overwhelmingly to write good things about unions and about regulation, and overwhelmingly to be Democrats. Does the field suffer from left-oriented groupthink? Read more →
As a high school teacher approaching my third year, I look back in despair when I think about how little of what I learned in graduate school was actually connected to the craft of teaching or to what goes on in real classrooms. My experience in the Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) program at Ithaca College is a mirror to a larger trend: that today’s programs seem to focus more on indoctrinating prospective educators into the “social justice” faith, thereby creating more ideological homogeneity throughout the field. I post my story at Heterodox Academy in order to expand the discussion around the impact of intellectual orthodoxy in teacher-training degree and certificate programs.
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In The New York Times’ Gray Matter section on July 3rd, I had the chance to elaborate on earlier work shared on the Heterodox Academy site where I first showed that faculty members in our colleges and universities have shifted ideologically to the left since the 1990s. Figure 1 presents another view of that trend but this time presents the ratio of liberal faculty to conservative faculty. While liberal faculty have always outnumbered conservative faculty, the figure makes it clear that since 1995, the relative number of liberals on campuses has been increasing. The liberal-conservative ratio among faculty was roughly 2 to 1 in 1995. By 2004 that figure jumped to almost 3 to 1. While seemingly insignificant, that represents a 50% decline in conservative identifiers on campuses. After 2004, the ratio changed even more dramatically and by 2010, was close to 5 to 1 nationally. This shows that... Read more →
One of the basic missions of a university is to prepare its students to be informed citizens capable of participating in an open and democratic society. That requires learning a wide range of ideas, and engaging with some of the most widespread perspectives and arguments on the controversial issues facing one’s society. Yet, increasingly, American universities are failing to present a wide range of views; often they make it hard for students with non-orthodox viewpoints to speak up. Politically orthodox education is bad for citizenship and bad for society.
Recently, Charles Lipson suggested 5 ways that universities could protect free speech on campus and re-establish an open society where freedom of thought is valued and celebrated.Related posts: Mizzou Madness The Promotion of a Right to Not Be Offended Read more →
Heterodox Academy readers will most likely agree that valuable forms of diversity have been imperiled by developments I elaborate in this Perspectives on Political Science article. Because of my article’s “controversial and timely” themes, Taylor & Francis is allowing the public to read and download it, at no cost [click here to download]–until August 28.
The article begins by discussing the debate about Fisher v. University of Texas, which the Supreme Court decided last week. Although I am comfortable with the outcome, I think Alito’s dissent was sharper than the majority opinion. David Cole provides an illuminating critique of the dissent in NYRB; Cole, along with several justices and hordes of professors, apparently believes the Court should no longer apply a “strict scrutiny” standard in determining whether public policies/laws that discriminate in favor of African-Americans and Latinos are consistent with the Equal Protection... Read more →
The recent push for safe spaces on college campuses and the need to insulate academic environments from dissenting viewpoints are debates dominating the current news cycle. However, a 2009 United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit decision (Rodriguez v. Maricopa County Community College) has much to inform this ongoing discussion. The decision written by Chief Justice Alex Kozinski has a number of quotes that directly reflects the mission of Heterodox Academy:
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A special New York Times Education supplement is out today, with notable contributions by John Palfrey on diversity and free expression, and Abby Ellin on the protection of free speech. There’s also a piece by Frank Bruni on how exorbitant tuition costs can create student entitlement.
Nicholas Christakis has a piece on inclusion as well. Christakis was personally affected by a political controversy at Yale, where he teaches in the sociology and medicine departments. Here is an excerpt from his piece:
Open, extended conversations among students themselves are essential not only to the pursuit of truth but also to deep moral learning and to righteous social progress. The faculty must step up and show students a way forward: to learn to be harder on the problems we face in our society, but easier on each other. We must demonstrate that we cannot be a community of searchers and learners if we do not share... Read more →
Are the leaders of our academic institutions complicit in the current student-led challenge to free speech and free expression on college campuses? Jonathan R. Cole thinks so. In a recent piece for The Atlantic Cole discusses possible cultural, institutional, and societal explanations for the recent uptick in opposition to free expression on American college campuses.
Cole’s argument moves beyond the psychological hypothesis advanced by some of our members concerning the coddling of the American mind. In particular, Cole discusses 9/11 and its aftermath. He describes today’s college students, primarily born in the mid-1990s, as “children of war and fear” who have been raised in a political climate where freedom of expression and/or privacy have been pitted against personal security:Related posts: Mizzou Madness The Most Dangerous Creep On Campus Read more →
Is the Internet a safe space? The European Union thinks it should be, according to a recent proposal.
Vera Jourová, the EU commissioner for justice, consumers and gender equality, unveiled a new EU code to tackle illegal ‘hate speech’ on the internet. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Microsoft have all lined up with the EU to remove hate speech from the web, with a particular focus on racism and xenophobia. “The internet is a place for free speech, not hate speech,” Jourova said.
In advance of the proposed code– and concurrently, the release of the second edition of Paul Coleman’s book Censored: How European “Hate Speech” Laws are Threatening Freedom of Speech– the online journal Spiked published a piece “asking leading free speech thinkers to weigh in on Europe’s increasingly punitive hate-speech legislation, which has led to individuals being arrested, fined and even jailed for anything from criticizing homosexuality in... Read more →
At The Atlantic, Conor Friedersdorf considers the multiple interpretations of diversity and inclusion, and how their ambiguity creates problems when colleges make them tenure requirements.
At the City Journal, David Seidemann reviews the hidden funneling of money from public universities to Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGs), a network of liberal lobbying organizations.
Finally, Spiked has collected statements from a number of professors, lawyers, and authors about the need to protect free speech by blocking EU commission legislation that purports to tackle hate speech.
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Dave Rubin interviews Jonathan Haidt about political correctness on American campuses.
The Economist reviews the debate between university protestors and their critics.
And the University of Oregon schedules a discussion about the Bias Response Team, and specifically, whether it violates the right to free speech.
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In the face of demands for greater political diversity on college campuses, sociologist Neil Gross is pushing back. Pointing to a 2015 Harvard study, which found that a mere 21 percent of Republican students feel uncomfortable sharing their views on campus, Gross says that the climate on campus is not especially unfriendly to conservative views. If “suppression of conservative voices were rampant,” Gross concludes, “we’d see a far larger share of collegiate Republicans concerned about their freedom of speech.” Yet even if one evaluates American campuses’ political climate by the light of the Harvard study alone, its findings are less encouraging than Gross supposes. Read more →
In the 60s, Mary Beth Tinker wore a black armband to school to take a stand against the Vietnam War, leading to a landmark Supreme Court case on free speech, Tinker v. Des Moines Independent School District. This week, in an interview with FIRE, she talked about student speech rights in today’s world.
The New Yorker has an extended article “The Big Uneasy” about activism at Oberlin College. Written by Nathan Helloer, the article features interviews with students and faculty, and covers the generational divide between liberal professors and liberal students, and the rise of intersectionality.
Timothy Garton Ash is interviewed about his new free-speech manifesto “Free Speech: Ten Principles for a Connected World.” He presents 10 principles of free speech, which you can find at the article’s end.
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Owing to its huge impact on minorities, the 1994 Crime Bill is back on the table. Proponents of the law claim that it helped lead to a sharp reduction in crime, especially in minority communities. Opponents hold that the law supports America’s carceral state through the targeting of minorities, so that, like many other parts of our jurisprudence, the law is racist. Since Hillary Clinton supported, and Bernie Sanders actually voted for the bill, it follows, neither can be trusted. The charge of racism being especially inflammatory these days, it demands to be tested. To avoid the trap of presentism in doing so, we need to bring ourselves back a generation, something young activists obviously cannot do without some help. So here is National Book Award and McArthur Prize winner Ta-Nehisi Coates talking about his youth in Baltimore. To be black, then, was “to be naked, before the elements of the world, before all the guns, fists, knives, crack, rape and disease. The law did not protect us.” His memories of the time, he says, are filled with murder: “I remember being amazed that death could so easily rise up from the nothing of a boyish afternoon, billow up like fog.” In this setting, every day brought a “series of trick questions, and every incorrect answer risk[ed] a beat-down , a shooting, or a pregnancy. “ Read more →
Sociologist Neil Gross, who has studied ideology among academics, has an editorial questioning whether changes in hiring practices will have any impact.
The annual report from the University of Oregon’s Bias Response Team is available online.
In The Independent, university student Benjie Beer argues that marginalized groups will not be helped by censorship.
The Washington Post has a forum on what college students mean when they ask for safe spaces and trigger warnings. Scroll to the bottom to share your thoughts on safe spaces, trigger warnings, “coddling,” and generational change.
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Although young people have long been hailed as more open-minded and politically tolerant than their parents and grandparents, there is evidence that this is no longer the case (see How Marcuse Made Todays Students Less Tolerant). The problem of political intolerance is clearly demonstrated on college campuses in recent months, as student groups clash over issues of immigration, race, and even support for presidential candidates. While debate and protests can be healthy displays of free expression, many of these efforts seem aimed at shutting down unpopular speech or punishing people with offensive viewpoints. In the past several months, scholars at Heterodox Academy have collectively made a compelling case that free speech at America’s colleges and universities does not enjoy the protected, valued status that a “marketplace of ideas” would demand. Read more →
Are college administrators unintentionally promoting narcissism by asking students to think about how they have been victimized by micro-aggressions? Howard Schwarz, professor emeritus of organizational behavior, contemplates this question in a new essay about microaggressions and the pristine self.
“When I arrive at college, I don’t wish to live in a safe space,” writes Mahad Olad, a rising freshman and self-identified activist. Olad criticizes several aspects of campus activism, including the use of identity as an argument and the assumption that all minorities share an ideology.
In The Atlantic, Conor Friedersdorf writes about Olad and similar students, who been treated as treasonous by campus activists for being interested in heterodox viewpoints.
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Universities are among the most progressive and anti-racist institutions in American society. Many Americans therefore found it confusing to see dozens of our top universities racked by racial protests since last September. To add to the puzzle, many of the most high-profile actions occurred at universities widely perceived to be the most devoted to social justice and racial equality -– schools such as Brown, Yale, Amherst, Wesleyan, and Oberlin. What is going on? A simple resolution of the puzzle is the hypothesis that the anti-racist policies these schools pursue give rise, indirectly, to experiences of marginalization for black students.... In 1969, Judge Macklin Fleming wrote an extraordinary letter to the Dean of the Yale Law School warning that Yale's plan to drastically lower admission requirements for black students would backfire. Judge Fleming also predicted how future black students would react to the difficult situation they were placed into; he predicted in 1969 many of the specific demands that campus protesters are making in 2016. Read more →
We are indebted to Professor Russell Jacoby for his article “Academe is Overrun by Liberals. So What?” published in the April 1, 2016 edition of the Chronicle of Higher Education. Although the article was intended to critique the inclusion of ideology as one element of higher education’s commitment to diversity, the piece inadvertently highlights the need for more political diversity on America’s college campuses. We should begin by disclosing that as a conservative, a libertarian and a liberal academic, we reflect a cross-section of faculty who promote the mission of Heterodox Academy. Our view is that Jacoby repeatedly gets the facts wrong in ways that reveal just how much the academy needs political diversity. Read more →
Here are two definitions of the word liberal: 1) Open to new behavior or opinions and willing to discard traditional values (Oxford Dictionaries) 2) A liberal is a man too broadminded to take his own side in a quarrel. (Robert Frost) Nick Kristof exemplifies both definitions. He happens also to be on the left, politically, but many people on the left these days are not liberal by either definition. This is especially a problem in universities, which cannot function without people who are open to new ideas and who are willing to question their “side” when empirical evidence calls for that. The rising problem of illiberalism on campus is why we created Heterodox Academy in the first place. Many of us were therefore thrilled by Kristof’s column today in the New York Times: A Confession of Liberal Intolerance. Read more →
Jon Shields and Joshua Dunn, Sr. have an editorial in the WSJ, which summarizes what they discovered over the course of interviews with 153 conservative and libertarian professors. The editorial is a companion piece to their new book. The WSJ piece is gated, but some related pieces can be found here, here, and here. (WSJ, Japan Times, and Inside Higher Ed.) A report on diversity at Yale Law School has revealed a lack of both ethnic and political diversity among the school's faculty. And in the Atlantic, Conor Friedersdorf notes how the tools of campus activists can be used to stifle ....campus activists. Friedersdorf also has a piece about "concept creep," which explains why younger Americans are more sensitive to harm. (See Jon Haidt's related piece here.) Read more →
The Federalist Society held a conference last Friday on intellectual diversity in the academy, at Stanford law school. This echoes a similar conference the Society sponsored at Harvard Law in 2013. The Stanford meeting discussed recent research on the current state of viewpoint diversity by scholars like James Phillips and Jon Shields, a debate between Stanford law’s Michael McConnell and former Stanford law dean Larry Kramer (now head of the Hewlett Foundation), student views of these issues, and a round table on political correctness, including Heterodox Academy’s own Nick Rosenkranz. The conference was opened by current Stanford law dean Elizabeth Magill, an admirably pluralistic academic leader. Video and audio of the panels can be found here. Read more →
A new book by education professor Joanna Williams explores how changing ideas about the purpose of a university have altered the concept of academic freedom and provided a foundation for student censorship in the U.K. The book is called "Academic Freedom in an Age of Conformity: Confronting the Fear of Knowledge" and Williams was recently interviewed by Inside Higher Ed. The book explores how changing ideas about the purpose of the university have altered the concept of academic freedom and provided a foundation for the student censorship movement in the United Kingdom. Read more →
This blog post contains resources related to a recent article published in The Guardian, by Jonathan Haidt and Nick Haslam, on campus censorship. That article explored the ramifications of an academic article by Haslam, on "Concept Creep." Haslam’s paper gives us one of the most powerful conceptual tools for understanding what is happening on American university campuses in the last several years, and on British campuses in the last year or so. Haslam shows that many of our most important moral concepts—such as bullying, trauma, and prejudice—have been “creeping” downward and outward to encompass so much of life, and such small exemplars, that vast swaths of what used to be considered normal human behavior are now seen either as pathological (requiring treatment) or as morally outrageous (requiring punishment). This is why it is becoming more difficult to live and work on college campuses -– the zone of acceptable speech and behavior is steadily shrinking, which chills free speech. Everyone is walking on eggshells. The article is long, but it is so important that I (Jon Haidt) have created a condensed version of it, to bring it out to a broader readership... Read more →
The AAUP reports that efforts to halt sexual harassment have had a chilling effect on speech. The NY Times article cites the cases of two professors Patti Adler (UC Boulder) and Laura Kipnis (Northwestern). Here’s the full report. A new blog The Conservative Social Psychologist has been launched on Psychology Today’s blog network by professor Robert Mather (University of Central Oklahoma). And the president of Emory University, James Wagner, has expressed his support for free speech after a nationally publicized incident at the university. The president of Princeton, Christopher Eisgruber, in response to a challenge, has also stated that Princeton is committed to free speech, and would even allow an event commemorating Osama Bin Laden if a campus group wanted to host one.
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For some time now, the term stereotype has connoted one aspect of prejudice, and this linkage between stereotyping and prejudice isn’t altogether unfair. Most people can recall at least one instance when someone applied a stereotype to them, and assumed something that was both untrue, unflattering, and unfair. Nonetheless, there is another side to stereotypes—it can be rational to apply them when they’re generally true. For instance, young men are more likely to perpetrate violent crimes than young women, old men, or old women. Like most young men, I can recall when someone eyed me warily as I passed them on a city sidewalk late at night. While I posed no threat to them, their behavior didn't strike me as irrational, because the stereotype they were applying was quite sensible to apply under the circumstances. In social psychology, there has been an imbalance between the recognition that stereotypes can be both hurtful and accurate. Once the study of stereotypes became subsumed under prejudice research, stereotypes were assumed to be inaccurate. It was only in the 1980s that a very small group of social psychologists dared to measure whether at least some stereotypes were accurate. No sooner had this research been published than they were disparaged by critics who leveled numerous charges against them. Some of those charges were insubstantial insults, but an important charge, one that has persisted in the literature, is that stereotype accuracy is impossible to measure Read more →
College students on many American campuses are showing an extraordinary mix of fragility and anger that is puzzling to outsiders. The recent events at Emory University are a dramatic case: some students described themselves as being afraid and "in pain" after seeing "Trump 2016" written in chalk around campus. They went to see the president of Emory to demand that he take punitive and protective action. The story is now drawing international wonder and scorn. How can this be happening in the cradle of modern democracy? A surprisingly complete explanation of what is happening at Emory was offered by two sociologists in 2014 who described a new moral order they called "victimhood culture." It is essential reading for anyone interested in campus events -- particularly for current college students who are at risk of being turned into "moral dependents" by this rapidly spreading moral matrix. Read more →
A couple of weeks ago, Intelligence Squared US arranged a debate on the motion "Free speech is threatened on campus." If you caught our earlier blog post about it, you might have watched it live. If you missed it, here's the video and transcript. You can also get an audio-only version there or through the Intelligence Squared US podcast. Debating for the motion were Wendy Kaminer and John McWhorter, a Heterodox Academy member. Debating against the motion were Jason Stanley and Shaun Harper. In his opening statement, McWhorter pointed out that we do have boundaries for acceptable speech. We don't consider genocide and slavery to be debatable. But he points out the problem with the current climate: Our problem today is that we're being taught by many people that, that zone that genocide and slavery and women occupies is much more crowded than it is. Read more →
Charles Murray is the latest target for disinviting a speaker from campus. Murray, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) think tank, is scheduled to talk at Virginia Tech later this month, and some activists are critical that he was invited at all. They call him a “white nationalist” and say that he argues that “poor people, women, and especially black and brown peoples are genetically, psychologically and intellectually inferior to upper- and middle-class, white men.” Tim Sands, Virginia Tech’s president, responded by defending the invitation, but in terms that remind us why free speech works best if it is accompanied by greater viewpoint diversity. In an open letter to the VA Tech community, Sands cites Murray’s “controversial and largely discredited work linking measures of intelligence to heredity, and specifically to race and ethnicity – a flawed socioeconomic theory that has been used by some to justify fascism, racism and eugenics.” Read more →
Jon Shields and Joshua Dunn, both members of Heterodox Academy, suggest that conservative professors have figured out how to thrive in academia, and their research shows that conservative in academia don’t feel as beleaguered as some people think.
Fredrick Hess of the American Enterprise Institute attempts a rebuttal here.
In a different op-ed, Shields and Dunn also suggest some reforms to make it more likely for conservatives to be hired and retained in academia.
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Glenn Custred, professor emeritus of anthropology at UC East Bay, summarizes how the social currents of the 1960 became institutionalized in social and cultural anthropology: Beginning in the 1960s, a movement developed in academia with the aim of transforming scholarly pursuits into instruments of social change. It was motivated by intellectually fashionable ideas, such as Marxism and feminism, and by a trendy antipathy towards Western Civilization in general. Eventually it overwhelmed the humanities and deeply affected the social sciences. The impact of the movement on my field, anthropology, was varied, since anthropology, with its four sub-disciplines, spans the range of scholarly activity from the physical sciences through the social sciences to the humanities. Three of those sub-disciplines (archeology, physical anthropology, and linguistic anthropology) have remained mostly unscathed by the efforts to transform anthropology into another politically correct university outpost. But the largest of the four, sociocultural anthropology (the study of social and cultural variation around the world), has been greatly distorted. It has been redefined from a science to an instrument of political ideology. Custred draws on the familiar story of Napoleon Chagnon, but also cites a more recent call for "militant" anthropology. Read the whole thing here. Read more →
As recently as November of last year, I considered myself a progressive, left-leaning liberal. I picked up Jonathan Haidt's book The Righteous Mind while trying to make sense of the recent protests at Yale University. I had read about the overwrought response to Dr. Erika Christakis' Halloween email, and was horrified by the video footage of the student screaming profanities at Dr. Nicholas Christakis. If I had ever behaved that way towards a professor, my parents would have refused to speak to me until I wrote a letter of apology, and read it aloud in front of the entire school. Naively, I assumed that all right-thinking people would agree with me that the student's behavior was unacceptable, and the whole situation ridiculous. Then I got into a few debates with liberal friends, and found that they sided with the student. I was accused of not caring about racism, and even of wanting to allow Klan hoods and blackface on the Yale campus. It was surreal, finding myself standing to the right in a political argument for the first time since high school. Read more →
Watch it streaming here at 6:30 PM EST:
The motion is “Free speech is threatened on campus.” The participants are Yale professor Jason Stanley, civil libertarian Wendy Kaminer, Columbia professor and author John McWhorter, and University of Pennsylvania professor Shaun Harper.
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The University of Missouri Board of Curators, in a 4-2 vote, fired instructor Melissa Click. Last November, Click attempted to forcibly remove a a student journalist from covering a demonstration, an act that was captured on camera.
Students in the debating society at UMass Amherst have petitioned the university for greater intellectual diversity. The petition asks the administration to “hire more faculty who provide perspectives within the conservative spectrum.” More on the story here.
And FIRE has released the 2016 list of the worst colleges for free speech.
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Social scientist (Ph.D. or ABD) sought to become research director for HeterodoxAcademy.org, At NYU-Stern School of Business, under direction of Jonathan Haidt. We are seeking a talented and experienced researcher with some tech skills to help run two projects that use social science research to improve major American institutions. Your main job would be research director for HeterodoxAcademy.org, a collaboration of social scientists trying to increase viewpoint diversity in the academy. You would also be part of the team at EthicalSystems.org, a research collaboration that uses behavioral science to “make ethics easy” for businesses. Read more →
Paul Krugman recently said -- referring to Heterodox Academy -- that "conservatives are outraged at what they see as a sharp leftward movement in the academy." This was funny for two reasons. First, we're not outraged, we're concerned, and there's a big difference: emotions drive reasoning, and therefore outrage is usually incompatible with good scholarship. (You should be wary of scholars whose writing suggests that they are in a constant state of outrage.) The tone of the page that Krugman was reacting to, like the tone just about everywhere at Heterodox Academy, is calm and measured. We are concerned about the loss of viewpoint diversity in the academy because it means that we lose "institutionalized disconfirmation." The quality of research produced by politically orthodox disciplines deteriorates. We are working within the academy to try to improve it. Second, we're not conservatives, we're diverse... Read more →
Social psychology is in crisis because no one knows what to believe anymore. The journals are now filled with failed replication after failed replication. Published studies once believed to demonstrate all sorts of amazing world-changing pervasive effects have not been replicated by other researchers. And the issues go well beyond failed replications. Or, put differently, some of the most famous and most influential effects in social psychology have been called into question not only by failed replication after failed replication, but by revelations of questionable methodological, statistical, and interpretive practices. What does this have to with HeterodoxAcademy? Isn’t this just methodological arcania, the equivalent of “inside baseball” for social psychologists? Not at all. Heterodox is about political diversity, but it is not only about political diversity. It is also about intellectual diversity. Intellectual diversity is crucial for solving difficult problems because it deflates the intellectual arrogance of those who think they know the answers, despite a lack of evidence. As Abraham Loeb put it, in an article in Nature:Physics on astronomy (not politics or the social sciences), “Uniformity of opinion is sterile; the co-existence of multiple ideas cultivates competition and progress.” Difficult to replicate studies similarly deflate arrogance, or at least they should, and, therefore, should ultimately lead to a stronger and more sound science. However, deflating arrogance is one thing, declaring it all or mostly bunk is quite another. The first step, then, is to figure out how bad it actually is in social psychology. But it does get worse before it gets better. Read more →
Angry students at the University of Cape Town have taken to burning paintings owned by the university, with one protestor tweeting: “Whiteness is burning.” The destroyed paintings include “Extinguished Torch of Academic Freedom” by black anti-apartheid artist, Keresemose Richard Baholo. Also destroyed: a bust of Maria Fuller, one of the first women to attend the university.
And while at a speaking engagement at the University of Pennsylvania, Caitlyn Jenner noted that she has “gotten more flak for being a conservative Republican than I have for being trans.”
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Bioethicist Alice Dreger, who has recently written about the history of political intrusion into science, and has faced considerable flak for her own work was interviewed by evolutionary psychologist Gad Saad this week (on "The Saad Truth"). Here's the video: Read more →
Intelligence Squared, the organization that convenes debates on major intellectual and policy issues, is holding one at Yale on March 1st, devoted to the proposition that "Free speech is threatened on campus." Intelligence Squared (IS) is founded on the same assumption as Heterodox Academy: the notion that better thinking is likely to emerge from a civil encounter between sharply differing viewpoints. So it's appropriate that one of the four debaters is John McWhorter (the other three are Wendy Kaminer, Shaun Harper, and Jason Stanley). As the debate set-up asks: "Are the protestors silencing free speech, or are they just trying to be heard? And are the universities responding by defending free speech, or by suppressing it?" IS streams the debate live and then archives a podcast version afterward. Read more →
Catherine Rampell looks at trends in first-year students' attitudes toward free speech, and finds greater support for censorship among 2015 freshman. And Jesse Singal writes about how Dr. Kenneth Zucker, a leading researcher in gender identity, was fired from his post at a clinic because of his unorthodox stance on transgender children. Read more →
Freedom of expression is a fundamental right, and forms the foundation of both a liberal-arts education and democracy itself. Nonetheless, colleges are now acquiescing to calls for restrictions on speech that upsets or offends, and in a worthy effort to protect civil rights, universities are paradoxically creating a less civil atmosphere on campus. Students now seem to feel free to respond with vitriol to those with whom they disagree. Brown University students have had to create a secret forum on free speech in order to participate in a free exchange of ideas. Yale students now protest against free speech, and find it offensive for professor and child development expert, Erika Christakis to suggest “free speech and the ability to tolerate offence,” as she wrote in her famously controversial email, “are the hallmarks of a free and open society.” Read more →
Four professors at the University of Missouri are leveraging the Melissa Click incident to teach students about free speech and freedom of the press. And the National Association of Scholars released a statement on campus freedom entitled "The Architecture of Intellectual Freedom." Here's an excerpt: The aim of this statement is to assist faculty members, academic administrators, college trustees, and those members of the general public who are actively concerned about the state of intellectual freedom on college campuses. Specifically, it is intended to help those who apprehend that the current situation calls for something more than a simple reaffirmation of older statements or new enunciations of general principles. This document is not intended to take the place of a statement on academic freedom or a similar document, but to help those who might be engaged in drafting such statements to gain a more encompassing view of the terrain. To some extent it can serve as a checklist of considerations. Read more →
In The Chronicle there is a stunning interview regarding the Flint, Michigan lead-poisoning problem, with Virginia Tech professor Marc Edwards, who helped expose the government-academic complex. Edwards explains his morality-based method of checking into whether science is sound: So when you start asking questions about people, and you approach them as a scientist, if you feel like you’re talking to an adult and they give you a rational response and are willing to share data and discuss an issue rationally, I’m out of there. I go home. But when you reach out to them, as I did with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and they do not return your phone calls, they do not share data, they do not respond to FOIA [open-records requests], y’know. … In each case I just started asking questions and turning over rocks, and I resolved to myself, The second something slimy doesn’t come out, I’m gonna go home. But every single rock you turn over, something slimy comes out. Read more →
Jonathan Adler recently blogged about a paper on the markedly higher productivity of conservative and libertarian law professors. Some people noted weaknesses in the paper, and argued against its validity. Here is what Phillips, the paper's author, had to say. Read more →
John McWhorter recently noted the resemblance between religious fervor and anti-racist activism: An anthropology article from 1956 used to get around more than it does now, “Body Ritual Among the Nacirema.” Because my mother gave it to me to read when I was 13, of course what I remember most from it is that among the Nacirema, women with especially large breasts get paid to travel and display them. Nacirema was “American” spelled backwards—get it?—and the idea was to show how revealing, and even peculiar, our society is if described from a clinical distance. These days, there is something else about the Nacirema—they have developed a new religion. That religion is antiracism. Of course, most consider antiracism a position, or evidence of morality. However, in 2015, among educated Americans especially, Antiracism—it seriously merits capitalization at this point—is now what any naïve, unbiased anthropologist would describe as a new and increasingly dominant religion. It is what we worship, as sincerely and fervently as many worship God and Jesus and, among most Blue State Americans, more so. To someone today making sense of the Nacirema, the category of person who, roughly, reads The New York Times and The New Yorker and listens to NPR, would be a deeply religious person indeed, but as an Antiracist. This is good in some ways—better than most are in a position to realize. This is also bad in other ways—worse than most are in a position to realize. Read more →
"I Am The Free Speech Zone," an event to spread awareness of speech restrictions on campuses, will be held on April 21. Details about the event are here. In related news, Azhar Majeed of FIRE listed five ways in which students can fight back against speech codes. And law professors Sasha Volokh and Tom Arthur had a debate at Emory University's School of Law on what constitutes free speech. Read more →
In Commentary, Peter Wehner recalls a chapter from Oxford's history: Lewis was president of the Oxford Socratic Club, an open forum that met every Monday evening and whose purpose was to discuss the intellectual difficulties connected with religion, and with Christianity in particular. “In any fairly large and talkative community such as a university, there is always the danger that those who think alike should gravitate together into ‘coteries’ where they will henceforth encounter opposition only in the emasculated form of rumor that the outsiders say thus and thus,” Lewis wrote in the first issue of Socratic Digest, the group’s publication. Read more →
As an academic, I am most well-known for writing a book that describes the evolution of ethnic studies as an academic discipline. From Black Power to Black Studies: How a Radical Social Movement Became an Academic Discipline (2007, The Johns Hopkins University Press) takes a sociological approach the topic. I found that Black nationalists were unable to implement a version of Black Studies that closely conformed to the idea that ethnic studies should be a radical departure from the academic mainstream. Instead, they had to build a discipline that rested on a foundation of interdisciplinary scholarship drawn from the traditional social sciences and humanities. After I wrote From Black Power, Neil Gross and Solon Simmons asked me to contribute a chapter to their book on academic liberalism, Professors and Their Politics (2014, The Johns Hopkins University Press). I called the chapter “Activism and the Academy: Lessons from the Rise of Ethnic Studies.” The primary purpose of “Activism and the Academy” is to succinctly outline the path from protest to academic institution. Here are the main lessons that I drew from my research. First, protest works. As I’ve argued in a series of articles, protest, especially non-violent protest, is one mechanism that effectively prompts academic reform. Read more →
This is a guest post by Marty Rochester, Curators’ Distinguished Teaching Professor of political science at the University of Missouri–St. Louis. As a faculty member of the four-campus University of Missouri system, I watched with a mixture of amazement and horror at the events that unfolded last fall, when a relatively small group of student protestors at UM-Columbia, joined by the school’s football team, forced the resignation of UM president Tim Wolfe as well as UMC Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin. Amazement, because perhaps never before have so few students been able to get so many college administrators to display so much cowardice over so little provocation, as the Mizzou protests have emboldened the radical left to hold campuses hostage to threats of disruption all across the country. Horror, because perhaps never before have we seen quite this combination of totalitarianism and stupidity at work on college campuses, making a mockery of so-called higher education. The late 1960s also saw campus demonstrations, but they at least could be understood as reactions to the vilest forms of racism, along with anger over the Vietnam War. Although there remain legitimate concerns about racial and social justice today, we clearly now live in a much more inclusive society and there is no major war taking the lives of hundreds of thousands of Americans. Notwithstanding ongoing challenges we face, things are arguably getting better and better, even as we feel worse and worse. Read more →
At what point does protest become thuggery? Protesters might say they are peaceful. But just because there is no violence does not mean that there is no intimidation or bullying. Unfortunately, threats and ultimatums have proliferated on American college campuses, and, until now, university presidents have largely raised the white flag and given in, encouraging more such behavior at other schools. Bullies can sense weakness; bullies tend to pick on weaklings. Inside Higher Ed tells of a group of Oberlin students issuing a 14-page list of demands. The college’s president is standing up against the demands. But he does so at peril. As Inside Higher Ed puts it: The list from students ends by saying that they have provided "demands and not suggestions. If these demands are not taken seriously, immediate action from the Africana community will follow." The student document ends with: Or Else! Read more →
A new paper by James Cleith Phillips finds that conservative and libertarian law professors publish more often, and their publications are cited more.
Christina Hoff Sommers, Angus Johnston, Samantha Harris, and Jane Shaw were asked if 2015 was a good or bad year for free speech on campuses.
Psychiatrist Paul McHugh considers how campus protests are “emotional stampedes” and explains how campuses might forestall future protests using social networks.
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This is a guest post by George R. La Noue, Research Professor of Political Science and Research Professor of Public Policy, University of Maryland Baltimore County. Every indicator shows enormous dissatisfaction among Americans with the current state of our discourses about public policy. Levels of distrust for institutional leaders, and even for our basic institution themselves, threaten the enlightened public participation on which democracy depends. In higher education, where civil rational discussion should be most practiced and prized, many campuses recently have been characterized by coercive student actions accompanied by increases of centralized administrative control. There are a multitude of explanations for this state of affairs, but in the fall of 2015, I decided to focus on documenting the topics and participants in on-campus policy debates or forums where divergent points of view are expressed. After all almost every campus claims it is training prepared citizens and future leaders. Almost all students can vote when they are still enrolled. Read more →
We're happy to announce that Glenn Loury, economist at Brown University, has joined Heterodox Academy. Glenn's academic work has made him difficult to classify along partisan lines—he's not a conservative, but he has been very critical of some liberal projects. Read more →
Every few years a debate re-emerges on the internet as to whether university faculty have truly shifted to the left, and if so, whether it matters. The debate has just flared up because of a graph that I made after some discussions about ideology in the academy with my friend Jon Haidt, who wanted to document the trend here at Heterodox Academy. But Paul Krugman dismissed the graph and the problem on his blog at the New York Times... [I give evidence against Krugman's interpretation]... If we compare figures 1 and 2, we see that the professoriate was changing while the electorate as a whole was not. Professors were more liberal than the country in 1990, but only by about 11 percentage points. By 2013, the gap had tripled; it is now more than 30 points. It seems reasonable to conclude that it is academics who shifted, as there is no equivalent movement among the masses whatsoever. The people who shape the minds of America’s students have long leaned left, on average. But students who entered college before 1990 could count on the fact that their professors did not all vote the same way or hold the same views on the controversial issues of the day. Students who arrived after 2005 could make no such assumption. Read more →
This is a guest post by Luke Conway, Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Montana. The current consensus in psychology is that political conservatives are uniquely simple-minded. Indeed, even the famous critic of political bias and Heterodox contributor Jonathan Haidt (and colleagues) suggested that there is a “consistent difference between liberals and conservatives” on several measurements related to cognitive complexity (Joseph, Graham, & Haidt, 2009, p. 176). When someone as open-minded as Jonathan Haidt implies that an array of evidence shows that conservatives are consistently more simplistic than liberals – even in an article largely devoted to exploring potential qualifiers to the effect – it suggests that the idea has achieved nearly axiomatic status in the minds of psychologists. And yet, in a recent Political Psychology paper, my colleagues and I showed that this “conservatives are simple” conclusion is, if not untrue, at least wildly premature. You may reasonably wonder: If conservatives really aren’t simple-minded, how can so many smart people from all political viewpoints possibly be so fundamentally wrong about it? Let’s first talk about what we found, and then we’ll talk about how we ended up here. Read more →
Just how much viewpoint diversity do we have in social psychology? In 2011 nobody knew, so I asked 30 of my friends in the field to name a conservative. They came up with several names, but only one suspect admitted, under gentle interrogation, to being right of center.
A few months later I gave a talk at the annual convention of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology in which I pointed out the field’s political imbalance and why this was a threat to the quality of our research. I asked the thousand-or-so people in the audience to declare their politics with a show of hands, and I estimated that roughly 80% self-identified as “liberal or left of center,” 2% (I counted exactly 20 hands) identified as “centrist or moderate,” 1% (12 hands) identified as libertarian, and, rounding to the nearest integer, zero percent (3 hands) identified as “conservative... Read more →
Reviewing Alice Dreger's new book, Galileo's Middle Finger, Jesse Singal notes how the left has also politicized social science over the last decade.... From his conclusion: "If activists — any activists, regardless of their political orientation or the rightness of their cause — get to decide by fiat what is and isn’t an acceptable interpretation of the world, then science is pointless, and we should just throw the whole damn thing out." Read more →
Stereotype threat is one of the most famous and influential phenomena in all of psychology. The famous paper (Steele & Aronson, 1995) unveiling the phenomenon has been cited over 5000 times, according to Google Scholar. And for good reason. The original studies seemed to reveal an extraordinarily striking finding. The typically very large average difference in standardized test scores between African Americans and Whites was, supposedly, a very flimsy, superficial difference, readily eliminated by either of two tiny tweaks to the conditions under which such tests were administered. Given that, for over 50 years, educators and social scientists had found it essentially impossible to craft programs eliminated racial achievement differences, this was a “world-changing” finding. Read more →
Heterodox Academy is working on a college guide so that students and parents can identify schools with enough viewpoint diversity to permit political dissent and debate. Our guide will eventually collect systematic data based on surveys and faculty political donations. But for those who can’t wait, a resource is already available that can help them evaluate the political climate on many college campuses. Since 1998 the Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI) has published a guide, Choosing the Right College, that evaluates colleges based on cost, curriculum, and political climate. Founded in 1953 (William F. Buckley was its first president), ISI has served as a conservative counterweight to campus leftism. Like Buckley’s National Review, ISI has been a fusionist institution seeking to harmonize social conservatism and economic libertarianism. But progressives will benefit from the guide too – viewpoint diversity is good for everyone. Very few schools lean right, so the ISI guide can help everyone find left-leaning schools that are not oppressively orthodox. Read more →
Jonathan Adler accounts what happened to Ohio State law student Madison Gesiotto after she penned an op-ed on Black Lives Matter protests. James Wright, former editor of Social Science Research (SSR), recounts reactions to two papers that SSR published, one showing that Christian fundamentalists did more poorly on verbal ability tests, and another showing that children of same-sex couples fave penalties later in life. (h/t Phi Beta Cons) Finally, John McGinnis points out that partisanship in society at large can erode a democratic society, which means it is a pressing concern for universities to be concerned with political diversity. Read more →
Justice Scalia caused an uproar last week when he tried to defend the "mismatch" hypothesis in an unvarnished and direct way, to which some took offense: There are those who contend that it does not benefit African-Americans to get them into the University of Texas where they do not do well, as opposed to having them go to a less-advanced school, a less — a slower-track school where they do well. The mismatch hypothesis says that race-based affirmative action hurts black students on the whole, because when it is done across the country, it places many black students into schools where they are below average in academic preparation or ability. This sets them up to earn low grades, feel discouraged, and to drop out of highly competitive fields such as STEM and law. If race-based affirmative action were ended, black students would then do just as well as other students at their schools, and would be MORE likely to pursue careers in STEM and law. Read more →
Race was at the center of campus protests that spread through American universities this fall. Many of the protestors were African-American, and they demanded that colleges stop treating them like outsiders. Although I’m not African-American, I’m a non-White immigrant (from India), so I can understand these feelings of not quite belonging to the campus community. However, I’m also a social psychologist. When I look at what these protestors are demanding, I see a set of policies that seem unlikely to work as expected. Worse, some of them could backfire and make minority student feel even more aggrieved. I fear that schools such as Yale, Emory, and Brown, which are committing to meet many of these demands, are going to make things worse, not better. Read more →
The number of student demands goes up. Diversity training is the most common demand. And John McWhorter writes about rational and irrational expectations of protestors. Read more →
A working group of policy experts from left and right just released a major report on how America can best reduce poverty and increase opportunity. Here’s the back story of how the unusual collaboration began, and what lessons might help other politically diverse groups of experts work together. Read more →
We are thrilled to announce that linguist and heterodox thinker John McWhorter of Columbia University has joined Heterodox Academy. McWhorter has long confounded people who tried to label him politically (though he's on the left on most social issues), and he has continued to be confounding and original in his writings and commentary on the current campus turmoil. Here are some excerpts from his blockbuster Wall Street Journal essay "Closed Minds on Campus", from Nov. 27:... "When intelligent people openly declare that logic applies only to the extent that it corresponds to doctrine and shoot down serious questions with buzzwords and disdain, we are dealing with a faith. As modern as these protests seem, in their way, they return the American university to its original state as a divinity school—where exegesis of sacred texts was sincerely thought of as intellection, with skepticism treated as heresy." Read more →
As conservative professors, we are deeply troubled by the Left’s intellectual dominance in higher education. Higher education should generate and promote knowledge, considering political, social and economic questions from every perspective, rather than promoting narrow ideological worldviews. Yet with relatively few right-leaning voices in the professoriate, particularly in the humanities and the social sciences where ideas matter most, many college students receive less than the intellectually rigorous education than they deserve. While there are many reasons for the Left’s dominance in higher education, we believe that as conservatives we bear some of the blame. Recognizing the considerable challenges created by the Left’s dominance in the academy, prominent conservatives such as David Horowitz have promoted a narrative of victimization that exaggerates the plight of the Right in higher education... Read more →
A survey of literature and arts professors find that they favor transparency in course descriptions, but a majority see trigger warnings as endangering academic freedom.
Tamara Shelton, professor at Claremont McKenna, writes about the challenges of teaching students about why slavery was supported by a significant proportion of Americans.
John McWhorter finds that despite their valid concerns about racism “something is off about today’s student protests.”
And Everett Piper, president of Oklahoma Wesleyan University, confronts a student who felt “victimized” because a homily on love made the student feel remorseful.
No related posts.Read more →
Perhaps you recall the worldwide debate about the color of a wedding dress? If not, here is the short version. A picture of a wedding dress was posted online along with a question: What color is this dress? It seemed that when some looked at the dress, they saw the dress to be blue and black in color while others saw the dress to be gold and white. The ensuing debate appeared to be something out of a social psychology experiment. The blue and black camp circled the wagons, supported each other’s observations, and then disparaged the gold and white camp. Of course the same dynamics were at play in the gold and white camp. Each side was incredulous. How, they asked, could the other side be so wrong and not see it? Those in the debate eventually called on scientists for answers. Using the science behind light wavelengths, retina sensitivity, optic nerve signaling, and the brain’s processing of visual cues, scientists eventually told us that both groups were correct in their perceptions. Read more →
Last week I wrote a post titled The Yale Problem Begins in High School. I talked about an odd experience I had giving a talk at a private high school which I called “Centerville High.” The school was very progressive, very concerned with issues of diversity and inclusion. Yet I found in discussions that conservatives and boys felt silenced, and that most students felt that they were “walking on eggshells” and afraid to speak up on some issues. The post has received 272 comments so far, including thirteen from students who self-identify as being Centerville students who attended my talk. Their comments are fascinating, thoughtful, respectful, and helpful. This post presents their comments to give readers deeper insight into what is going on at Centerville, and perhaps at many other high schools. As you’ll see, the students split on exactly the issue that was the subject of my talk, and of my essay with Greg Lukianoff: Should class discussions be safe spaces in which students are shielded from ideas and statements that some of them find upsetting? Read more →
With so many campuses under renewed pressure to create “safe spaces” from political speech and dissent, growing numbers are asking us at Heterodox Academy: Where can I (or my children) go to encounter at least some modicum of viewpoint diversity among the faculty? While there are many college guides with an eye to politics, they point students to the most liberal campuses, such as Bard, or to the few distinctively conservatives places, such as Liberty University or Grove City College. Such guides, therefore, steer students to the most homogenous and sheltered campus communities. But if students want to know whether a university offers enough political diversity among its faculty to ensure a robust exchange of ideas, they will search in vain for a useful college guide. We at Heterodox Academy aim to provide direction for students looking to escape academia’s many monocultures. Read more →
This week's roundup: Identitarians, Millenials, Progressives Aiding Conservatives, Liberal Intolerance, Yoga Read more →
The Yale problem refers to an unfortunate feedback loop: Once you allow victimhood culture to spread on your campus, you can expect ever more anger from students representing victim groups, coupled with demands for a deeper institutional commitment to victimhood culture, which leads inexorably to more anger, more demands, and more commitment. But the Yale problem didn't start at Yale. It started in high school. As long as many of our elite prep schools are turning out students who have only known eggshells and anger, whose social cognition is limited to a single dimension of victims and victimizers, and who demand safe spaces and trigger warnings, it's hard to imagine how any university can open their minds and prepare them to converse respectfully with people who don't share their values. Especially when there are no adults around who don't share their values. Read more →
The crime these unlucky professors are often charged with is racism. As an African-American I hate racism and I have experienced it. I have worked hard to help bring people of different races together. I have done the difficult work of sitting down and listening to those with whom I disagree. Are the student protestors willing to sit down and really work at communicating with others? Read more →
Student activists across the nation are demanding the hiring of more minority faculty. At Claremont McKenna College, where I teach, students have pushed for faculty training to sensitize us to the ways implicit racial biases supposedly shape our hiring decisions. At neighboring Pomona College, activists insist that half of all new faculty positions must be offered to racial minorities by 2025. Whatever one makes of the merits of such demands for greater diversity, many of the arguments that inform them are far more powerful when extended to academia’s most underappreciated minority: conservative professors. Read more →
In a 2013 article in the Chronicle of Higher Education, Walter M. Kinbrough, President of Dillard University, recalls, “Several years ago David Hodge, president of Miami University, described the campus as a place where intellectual collisions can occur. That's our purpose! Colleges are places where students learn and grow through intellectual collisions in and out of class, with professors, staff, and peers... Read more →
Diversity is inherently divisive. In a classic social psychology experiment, Henri Tajfel created artificial groups by randomly telling some people that they had over-estimated the number of dots on a page, while others were told that they were under-estimators. Without even talking to each other, people later favored the members of their group. So how easy is it going to be to create a mutually trusting and tolerant society on America’s college campuses when those colleges are actively seeking out people who differ by race, nationality, and class? And what if colleges ever start seeking out viewpoint diversity, as we advocate on this site?
The answer, as we’re learning in recent weeks, is that diversity is hard. And one reason it’s so hard is that campus diversity programs rarely begin by extolling the essential precondition for tolerance: Generosity of spirit. Social life always contains misunderstandings. Diversity multiplies them by... Read more →
Arthur Brooks, Jamie Palmer, Jonathan Chait and Timothy Burke are featured in this week's roundup. Read more →
David Linker has a new column on the absence of conservatives in academia, and has a couple of new ideas about why universities might not attract as many conservatives as liberals. Both of his ideas stem from the origins of universities. Read more →
Recently a paper was published by Duarte et al. (2015) discussing how political diversity will improve psychological science. The paper pointed out that while democratic/liberal views have historically dominated the field, where these views among academic psychologists outnumbered Republican/conservative views 4 to 1 about 20 years ago, today that ratio has skyrocketed to over 12 to 1. One of the questions the paper addresses is, why are there so few non-liberals in social psychology? The paper looks at several possibilities, some of which do appear to be contributors as supported by the data, and others that were not seen by the authors to be likely contributors. One of the possibilities in the latter group deserves a closer look.
One possibility as to why there are so few non-liberals in social psychology looked at by the authors was the effects of education on political ideology. Duarte et al. (2015) concluded... Read more →
Suzanne Venker writes about why Williams College’s Uncomfortable Learning speaker series dropped her.
A survey of 800 students across the U.S. showed that student preferred campus speech codes by a margin of 51% to 36%.
A coalition of advocacy groups has asked the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights to pressure college to punish students for their speech and block Yik Yik and other websites.
And, fearing for her safety, Germaine Greer pulled out of a speaking engagement at Cardiff University.
No related posts.Read more →
In our recent BBS paper, we argue that the lack of political diversity in scientific psychology sometimes leads to biased research. When ideology is embedded in research questions and measures, it can undermine the validity of that research.
In response to our concerns, some scholars have argued that science is self-correcting, and that political bias is already handled by these corrective processes.
Alice Eagly, a famed attitudes researcher, argued that social psychology is self-correcting:
Read more →
"Liberal, like conservative, psychological scientists are constrained by the shared rules of postpositivist science whereby research methods and findings are public, available for all to scrutinize and critique. When bias is present in research that attracts an audience, the bias is (sooner or later) exposed and then corrected."
This a guest post by Bo Winegard, doctoral student at Florida State University, and Ben Winegard, Assistant Professor of Psychology at Carroll College.
In our first blog post, we summarized the first half of our essay about bias in social psychology (and the social sciences more broadly). In it, we forwarded the paranoid egalitarian meliorist model of bias. We argued that many social scientists are paranoid egalitarian meliorists, and that this gives rise to cosmic egalitarianism, or the belief that all sexes, social classes, and ethnic groups are equal on all desirable traits. This belief then becomes a sacred value that is zealously protected by social scientists, who often assail other researchers who contradict the basic tenets of cosmic egalitarianism. Here, we will finish summarizing the essay.
According to our perspective, cosmic egalitarianism is a major cause of bias in the social sciences, and is probably more important than... Read more →
The go-to explanation, reasonably described as a knee-jerk reaction, to almost any instance of demographic “gaps” or disadvantage, at least by most of my colleagues in social psychology, and, I suspect, in many other academic fields, is ongoing discrimination by prejudiced individuals (prejudice is now often presumed to be unconscious, typically without evidence demonstrating such unconsciousness). For example, in social psychology, the go-to explanation is “shooter bias” — enough studies show that, using realistic video games, laypeople more readily shoot unarmed blacks than unarmed whites. Prejudice is also “our” explanation for the gender gap in STEM (despite ample evidence that other factors also play a role, and probably play a stronger role). And I just discovered this in, of all places, the NYTimes Sunday Business section. Evidence of killing-based-on-individual prejudice of officers would predict that police disproportionately kill blacks (per stop) than they kill other people (say, whites). That... Read more →
Guest post by Bo Winegard, doctoral student at Florida State University, and Ben Winegard, Assistant Professor of Psychology at Carroll College.
Jonathan Haidt and others have argued that ideological uniformity has been increasing in social psychology and the social sciences more broadly. According to a recent Behavioral and Brain Sciences article, this ideological uniformity might cause subtle (and not so subtle) biases in the social sciences. We (and Dave Geary) wrote a comment for that article, which we recently expanded into an essay, in which we forwarded a model to help account for bias in the social sciences. In this blog post, we summarize the essay and spell out some consequences. In a second blog post we will explore more consequences of the model and look at historical cases that appear to support it.
Our model uses the concept of meliorism, the belief that human... Read more →
Jon Haidt and Hara Estroff Marano discuss where colleges went wrong. Marano is an editor at large at Psychology Today and blogs at Nation of Wimps. Jose Duarte asks whether minorities are throttling their efforts, and how diversity programs could be tailored to prevent this (if it’s happening.) Judith Curry writes about conflicts of interest in science, including government funding, and how college students see it as problematic. She also some advice on how scientists can keep from fooling themselves. Pacific Standard covers the team of authors behind the big article on political diversity in social psychology; and they have a story about an experiment (with a control group) investigating the recruitment of women into STEM faculty jobs. Finally, April Kelly-Woessner is on this week’s episode of the Tom Woods show, discussing her research on declining tolerance among young people.
No related posts.Read more →
Responding to censors at the University of Warwick, Alan Levinovitz writes about how tolerance does not mean believing someone is right. Rather it is a virtue that “allows you to coexist with people whose way of life is different from your own without throwing a temper tantrum, or a punch.” Stephen Ceci and Wendy Williams discuss their response to the big paper about political homogeneity in psychology, and the hostile response they received when they published a paper on pro-female bias. Ken Whites opines on the charges filed against a “welfare and diversity officer” who has been charged with mean tweeting. The tweeter here is obviously left-wing, but here’s the rub:
“You censorious Guardians of Feels on the Left: if you thought that the norms you created wouldn’t be used against your “own side,” you’re fools. It is apparently your theory that the law is sexist, racist, and every other -ist, driven... Read more →
I would like to thank John K. Wilson for sending me his comments about my HeterodoxAcademy blog and inviting me to respond. There are a lot of points to cover. First, John K. Wilson disputes my finding that young people today are less tolerant than their parents. He claims “young people only seem modestly intolerant by comparison because older Americans have grown more tolerant to a degree unimaginable in human history.” In our private email exchange, Wilson defended this argument by pointing to increased tolerance toward homosexuals. Indeed, people are more accepting of alternative lifestyles, minorities, women’s rights, etc. than at any time in the past. But political tolerance is a measure of how we handle disagreement. Tolerant people allow those they consider dangerous to society to speak and participate in the democratic process. Allowing one’s friends and political allies to speak is not a sign of tolerance. Young people may like more people, but they are especially intolerant of disagreement. Read more →
Conservativism doesn’t seem to be a unipolar thing, according to much of the social psychological research on political attitudes. Rather, research by John Duckitt shows you can be conservative by being high in either social dominance orientation (SD) or right-wing authoritarianism (RWA). Of course, the two dimensions are moderately correlated but they’re not the same thing. High-SDO people dislike socially subordinate groups, and high RWA dislike socially deviant (or unconventional) groups. As a centrist, however, I’ve found that there’s a lack of research on the opposite poles of these scales... Read more →
Law professors and the Association of American Law Schools duke it out over the lack of intellectual diversity in the AALS conference speakers list.
Nick Cohen raises four points to consider about political correctness in the arts.
Judith Curry has a column on criminalizing climate change skeptics.
American University’s faculty senate unanimously passes a resolution in favor of free speech on college campuses.
No related posts.Read more →
A few weeks ago my facebook feed was somewhat abuzz with the fact that Senator Bernie Sanders was speaking at Liberty University. Yes, that Bernie Sanders, self-described socialist, speaking at that Liberty University, the education institution founded by the man who started the Moral Majority. It was not a news event I ever anticipated occurring. Even though I am a Christian, like many people I had stereotypes about the narrowmindedness of Christian colleges and did not consider that one as conservative as Liberty University would require its students to listen to a socialist. I will spend the bulk of this blog discussing the implications of Liberty University’s decision. However, I first want to compliment the senator. It is not easy to speak in front of an audience who deeply disagrees with you. He probably did not gain one extra vote from a Liberty student by his talk. But he is committed to his vision of a better society and willing to go places where he does not have an admiring crowd. I give sincere kudos to Senator Sanders and if more of us would be willing to try to communicate with those we disagree with, then we would have a better society. Read more →
John McGinnis has an excellent post over at Library of Law and Liberty (andcross-posted at our new Heterodox Academy), highlighting the rigid liberal orthodoxy of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS). AALS has just sent around the notice of its 2016 annual meeting, highlighting its “Speakers of Note.” As Prof. McGinnis points out: “Of the thirteen announced, none is associated predominantly with Republican party, but eleven are associated with the Democratic Party. Many are prominent liberals. None is a conservative or libertarian.” McGinnis argues that the conference would profit from including some other perspectives. Read more →
In the week that a new organization, Heterodox Academy, was established to press for more ideological diversity in academic life, the learned association in my own profession showed how much it is needed. The Association of American Law Schools (AALS) sent around a notice of its prospective annual meeting, highlighting its most prominent speakers. Of the thirteen announced, none is associated predominantly with Republican party, but eleven are associated with the Democratic Party. Many are prominent liberals. None is a conservative or libertarian. Five are judges, including Stephen Breyer, all appointed by Democrats. Another is the incoming Senate leader of the Democrats. Three others contributed predominantly to Democrats. One for whom no contributions could be found held a fund raiser for President Obama. Another worked for the Democratic side of the House Judiciary Committee during the impeachment of President Clinton. Read more →
Greg Lukianoff responds to a New Yorker article whose author compared free-speech advocates to gun nuts. Lukianoff begins with a rebuttal of the point that free speech is already protected:
FIRE conducts extensive research on speech codes every year and we publish an annual report condensing that research into a picture of the state of free speech on campuses nationwide. According to our most recent report, released in December 2014, more than 55 percent of the 437 colleges and universities analyzed maintain speech codes that seriously infringe upon the free speech rights of students.
Black Lives Matter and So Does Free Speech: Wesleyan University’s president, provost, and vice-president for equity and inclusion defend free speech in this letter to the editor. This letter addresses a proposed boycott of the student newspaper The Wesleyan Argus, which published an op-ed criticizing the Black Lives Matter movement. Critics of the op-ed declared a “boycott” that included disposing... Read more →
When Samuel Stouffer first wrote on political tolerance during the McCarthy era, he concluded that Americans were generally an intolerant bunch. Yet, finding that younger people were more tolerant than their parents, he also concluded that Americans would become more and more tolerant over time, due to generational replacement and increases in education. However, Stouffer did not predict the rise of the New Left, which I argue has reframed our collective notions about free expression, resulting in a significant decline in political tolerance among America’s youth. I develop this argument in a chapter I wrote for Stanley Rothman’s last book, The End of the Experiment, (Rothman, Nagai, Maranto, and Woessner, 2015) My findings are outlined below. Read more →
Our article on how greater political diversity will improve psychological science was published last week (Duarte et al., 2015, see summary here). The journal that published it (Behavioral and Brain Sciences) also solicits commentaries from other scholars on each “target article.” In our case BBS obtained 33 commentaries from scholars across a number of academic fields, and then gave us the opportunity to write an essay in response. In this post, we summarize our response to those commentaries, and we list the 33 commentaries at the end, by title and author, with abstracts. The big surprise for us was that most of the commentaries were quite supportive — our colleagues largely agreed with our claims and concerns about the lack of political diversity, although they raised important points about the difficulties of changing the field.
Our target article: Crawford, J. T., Duarte, J., Haidt, J., Jussim, L., Stern,... Read more →
There are three problems with ideological homogeneity -- avoidance of taboo topics; limitations on evidence; and inability to empathize Read more →
Dogma is defined by Merriam-Webster as “a belief or set of beliefs that is accepted by the members of a group without being questioned or doubted.” Interestingly, the second definition provided by Merriam-Webster as “a belief or set of beliefs that is taught by a religious organization.” Of course these two different definitions are not meant to be read together but it as does seem that Merriam-Webster assumes that religious beliefs, and only religious beliefs, are accepted without question or doubt. It would not surprise me if the individuals constructing these definitions did accept the myth that dogma only occurs in a religious context. There is plenty of evidence on college campuses that show the incorrectness of that myth. Here is a great example of what I term education dogma. Note that the students are chanting about not being silenced while they are obviously silencing the speaker. My understanding of this situation is that the speaker published something that challenges some of the assertions about a campus rape culture. Such a challenge is an affront to the dogma of the students. Therefore, these students do not feel that the speaker has a right to speak on a different topic. The violation of beliefs they accept without question or doubt creates their incentive to shut down the proceedings. Read more →
President Obama strongly endorsed HeterodoxAcademy last week. OK, he didn't mention our site specifically, but he endorsed our mission explicitly.... "there was this space where you could interact with people who didn’t agree with you and had different backgrounds that I then started testing my own assumptions. And sometimes I changed my mind." Read more →
Barack Obama explains why free speech on campuses matters:
I’ve heard some college campuses where they don’t want to have a guest speaker who is too conservative or they don’t want to read a book if it has language that is offensive to African-Americans or somehow sends a demeaning signal towards women. I gotta tell you, I don’t agree with that either. I don’t agree that you, when you become students at colleges, have to be coddled and protected from different points of view. I think you should be able to — anybody who comes to speak to you and you disagree with, you should have an argument with ‘em. But you shouldn’t silence them by saying, “You can’t come because I’m too sensitive to hear what you have to say.” That’s not the way we learn either.
How social psychology lost its political diversity, and why it matters: A Cliffsnotes version of Duarte, Crawford, Stern, Haidt, Jussim & Tetlock (2015) Read more →
Our article on the absence of political diversity has just been published and you can read the summary of it here (with links to download the whole thing).
Lone voices (Rich Redding, Phil Tetlock) in the wilderness have been raising alarms for decades about the distortions that happen when psychology is politicized, and when it becomes so uniformly left-leaning that people don’t even notice that it has become politicized. Those alarms have gone almost entirely unheeded – social psychology has marched on as if the political threats to its credibility and validity simply do not exist. (To be fair, we note that this is true about most of the rest of psychology, and most of the rest of the social sciences. That’s why we created HeterodoxAcademy). This, of course, makes sense for many reasons. First, for the overwhelming left-leaning (about 90%, maybe more*) majority of the field,... Read more →
At Heterodox Academy, our contributors have documented the near absence of political diversity in many fields, and we have demonstrated the damaging effects that this homogeneity has on scholarship in those fields. Read more →
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