The Academic Gulag: Are You Politically Correct, Comrade Professor?

Years ago, I predicted that colleges would write commitment to “social justice,” “diversity,” etc., into mission statements and then make it part of their job descriptions. I never imagined they would get so brazenly specific in their interrogation of candidates. And then to put it on their web site for all to see! Little wonder dissenting voices are so rare in certain disciplines:

“Supplemental Search Instructions: Documentation Toward Approval of a Search: It’s All in What You Ask: Some Questions Search Committees Might Want to Use” (Equal Opportunity & Diversity Office, University of Massachusetts, Amherst)

No, I am NOT making this up!

Further reading:

Commentary on the new hiring procedures:

“Want to Teach Here? Then Tell Us Your Politics,” by Daphne Patai

David Theroux recommends some really good books in the comments below (scroll down). I would add

Alan Kors and Harvey Silverglate, The Shadow University: The Betrayal Of Liberty On America’s Campuses (Harper, 1999)

Organizations that fight for academic freedom:

Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) The FIRE site is invaluable for those of us who have to attend, work at, pay for, and put up with assaults on academic freedom and common sense (if you are a taxpayer, that includes you). If you find yourself in need of help with the speech police, contact FIRE.

National Association of Scholars The National Association of Scholars (NAS) has led the fight for academic rigor and fair play since the late 1980s. (Disclosure: I am president of the Illinois chapter).

Check out the resources at FIRE and NAS. The FIRE Guides to your rights are indispensable these days.

Taking a line from the Clash (in or out of context):

“Know your rights!”

Jonathan Bean is a Research Fellow at the Independent Institute, Professor of History at Southern Illinois University, and editor of the Independent book, Race & Liberty in America: The Essential Reader.
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