GOP CU Regents: More “Conservative Scholars” Needed

As the Boulder Daily Camera's Brittany Anas reports, the recent appointment of the University of Colorado's new "visiting scholar in conservative thought and policy," Dr. Steven Hayward, still hasn't satisfied Republican members of the Board of Regents–who are again calling for more "affirmative action" by university departments to attract more conservative faculty.

"Like it or not, the University of Colorado — particularly the Boulder campus — has a reputation for being a liberal campus," said CU Regent Jim Geddes, R-Sedalia, during the regents' monthly board meeting. "It is true that so-called conservative scholars are just not welcome at the University of Colorado. That's a problem."

…[CU student government vice president Tyler] Quick, during the regents' discussion, told the board, "I would challenge the assumption that all Boulder faculty are somehow commies." That statement drew criticism from Regent Sue Sharkey, R-Windsor, who responded: "I didn't find the humor. It diminishes the case we're trying to make."

…Regent Steve Bosley, R-Broomfield, prefaced his comments by saying that he isn't referring to political diversity amongst the faculty, but, rather, philosophical balance. He said if the majority of faculty in a program hold the same view on a topic, the university should seek to have representatives of the opposing viewpoint. [Pols emphasis]

Regent Steve Bosley's "recommendation" perfectly identifies the problem with the effort to artificially increase the number of conservative faculty at the University of Colorado. If a majority of faculty in a program "hold the same view on a topic," is that in itself proof of a lack of "opposing viewpoints"–or is it that the "opposing viewpoints" cannot withstand academic rigor? Also, have they looked at the business department? This seems to be more about GOP problems with certain humanities (say, history) than it is about the CU faculty as a whole. 

Bottom line: it's one thing to attempt to foster a climate of "ideological diversity" where there are legitimately differing scholarly opinions. The choice of Dr. Steven Hayward to the privately funded "visiting conservative scholar" position is one, as our readers know, that we have noted favorably–despite our dim view of the entire premise of the program that brought him to the University.

Dr. Hayward's appointment at least can be justified on the merits of his scholarship. Hayward in no way justifies preferential treatment for "more" conservative professors simply for the sake of having them. Conservatives are just not an historically disadvantaged class of people, folks–and the suggestion they are underscores how fundamentally silly this endless whining for more right-wing professors really is.

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  1. ajb says:

    Remember, Dr. Hayward is a visiting scholar. There's no way he would do that long-term for the meager salary of an assistant professor (and CU is known to be rather miserly with their salaries).

    What's more interesting to me, is that conservatives like Geddes and Bosley ignore the fact that scientists are so liberal. That wasn't alwasy true.

     

    • ArapaGOPArapaGOP says:

      Years of liberal ideological dominance by the left have skewed higher education toward liberalism. You're right that it wasn't always this way, and CU Regents should be commended for trying to address the problem. Higher education can't lock the views of half the population out of its ivory tower forever.

      • ClubTwitty says:

        Or, perhaps, it is rather that conservative thought is naturally inferior and cannot compete in the free marketplace of ideas?

        • ModeratusModeratus says:

          Who decides that? A bunch of lib academics? Fail.

          • BlueCatBlueCat says:

            You naming yourself Moderatus? Fail

            Maybe most conservatives see academic careers that require advanced degrees but won't put them in the top .01%  or better as something they shouldn't be wasting their time on except as honorary positions, not requiring all that work on all those degrees, when they're through in elected politics and have plenty of money coming in from lobbying, serving on boards, working for think tanks, writing books and giving speeches. After all, if you aren't at least in the top .01% you're just a loser, right?

          • roccoprahn says:

            What's with the hit and run?

            Bluecat just cut your nuts out, and you're just gonna sit there mute while ya bleed out?

            I'm saying you're part of the military service avoiding, "toughguy" gun nut conserve redleg demographic that runs yer mouth but has nothing substantial.

            C'mon pinko, man up.

        • AristotleAristotle says:

          Ding ding ding! We have a winner!

  2. Craig says:

    Move along now children.  There's not a single person who doesn't read this or other political web-sites who cares or knows about this issue.  Just another example of Republicans trying to create issues so they can ignore the vast number of issues where they are completly out of touch with the Colorado and American public.  That's why Republicans can't win races in this state anymore.  They only care about issues that no one else cares about.  You Bosley used to be a respected and moderate businessman.  Some how he turned into a flamer, even with the "liberal" faculty at Boulder.  How about talking about the huge increases in tuition at the flagship of our University system caused by their tax stinginess.  Oh, wait, I guess they wouldn't want to talk about that stuff to parents who still have kids who need to go to college.  Of course not, move along, nothing to see here.

  3. RunningOnEmpty says:

    The longer they talk about it, the dumber it sounds.  My only comfort is that it's an issue that has surfaced every now and then for the past decade with nothing to show for it.  I've taught in the music department at CU-Boulder as an adjunct (and now teach elsewhere).  My political affiliations do not have any bearing whatsoever on the music of Mozart, Beethoven, or even Philip Glass and John Adams unless talking about the historic visit of Nixon to China that Adams uses as the topic of his opera "Nixon in China" somehow fits into the conservative/liberal vein.  (Answer: it doesn't; anyone who wants to argue otherwise clearly has no knowledge of the opera.)  Mozart was opposed to the monarchy, so that ought to be good enough for those conservatives.  Beethoven relied on the free market, which should also pass the conservative test. 

    Even when I've taught world music there, I still can hardly fathom how my political leanings fit in, unless an approved conservative would not teach music from countries that we don't like–which begs the question about whether we don't cover Korean music (we like South Korea, but strangely enough, the music of North Korea has the same history), or the Middle East (though the countries most influenced by fundamental forms of Islam tend not to allow it which simplifies matters because then we only talk about historical trends, like the music of Persia).  Maybe Cuban jazz is off-limits, or else we pretend it doesn't have Cuban roots?

    Utter ignorance.

  4. Bokonon says:

    Gosh.  And I thought conservatives hated affirmative action and quotas!

    Guess I was wrong.

    • roccoprahn says:

      "Frivolous" law suits too. Unless the "frivolous law suit" or "affirmative action" incidence has to do with a benifit to said "conservative".

      "Quotas"? don't get me started.

      You know, Craig really hit the sweet spot when he mentioned "distraction". At this point, the entire conserve scam is rudderless, without any defined mission, unless it's to bring the country down to a point where desperate, stupid, armed to the teeth goobers rally behind the republican austerity driven insanity, and "rise up".

      Against what?

      In CU's case, against science? Why should a State funded University allocate funds and academic juice to entertain "intelligent design". There's institutions like liberty college, colorado christian college, etc. that teach Jesus riding on dinosaurs.

      Economics? Are you kidding me? Anyone awake and functional since the redleg pillaging of the surplus of Clinton's Administration knows the "conservative" economic "plan" doesn't fit "govbmint", and the republican form of economics is outright theft of the treasury, funneled into corporations. Top 1% make out, the rest………..too bad.

      The idea of someone not rich as hell believes in the republican party or "conservative thinking" is dumbfounding.

      Seriously!

  5. DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

    This was an issue back when I went to C.U. (we're talking the '80s). And with that said, I do think there's legitimacy to this issue. The professors in a department determine who to bring in. And people tend to bring in others who agree with them.

    I think the students would be better served by having professors from across the spectrum teaching in PoliSci, Economics, Business, etc.

    • AristotleAristotle says:

      Who says they're not getting that now, especially in those fields?

      Remember Dobby (Dr. Dobson Has God-like Qualities)? He claimed to be a polisci instructor at CU-Boulder. And we also know that CSU had a math grad student/instructor of the same political stripe recently.

      The issue, of course, is not whether there are too many liberal professors and instructors at CU. The question is, what is the true motive of those claiming that more conservative representation is needed? These are people who should not be trusted. (No influential Republican can be regarded with trust anymore.) They used to complain about "liberal bias" in the media, and that has lead to Fox News and all the Drudges, Alex Jones, and that one guy who croaked at 43 whose name escapes me. They are absolutely corroding our republic. Is there any reason to believe that they don't intend to do to academia what they've done to journalism?

      To whatever extent "liberal bias" exists at universities, it does not corrode the foundations of our society. Giving these clown even the slightest benefit of doubt will only lead down that path. This is truly a declaration of war upon us, David. Sound histrionic? Again, consider the state of journalism today, and remember how it began to make that transformation.

      • I have to agree here. As MADCO puts it, there shouldn't be any different in teaching methodology for hard sciences or accounting or math (whether BJ thinks that's science or not being largely irrelevant)… If you're teaching that the Earth is 6,000 years old, you're not teaching science. If you're teaching that burning fossil fuels in to eternity doesn't add to the CO2 in the atmosphere, or that CO2 concentrations in the air don't alter the greenhouse effect, you're not teaching science. You might be teaching something some people want to hear about and debate, but it's not science.

        For any classes in which political controversies arise, I suggest a joint teaching format, or classes labeled "In Support of Keynesian Economics", "The Argument Against Keynes", or "Corollaries to Keynes – a Comprehensive Evaluation".

  6. gaf says:

    When Geddes, Bosley and all want to address the "views" of professors in the business and economics departments, perhaps we can have a discussion. But their argument is basically a call for teaching opposing views to evolution, or for teaching astrology in the astronomy department. In other words, it's all politics.

  7. MADCO says:

    Utimately it's self defeating.

    Go ahead hire "conservative" scholars. Make sure everyone knows who they are.

    Look- over there, there's one.  I took his class – so he's "conservative" big deal? He couldn't even define "conservative".  

    If they teach ideology – they are not scholars.

    If they are separate and distinct- something to be studied and observed – they are irrelevant.

     

    And who cares anyway?

    Does UC Boulder teach accounting? Are the "conservative" accounting principals different?

    Physics? engineering?

    It can matter in some of the LIberal Arts. So what?  If they teach ideology – not scholars.  If they teach, their politics are irrelevant.

  8. Curmudgeon says:

    Actually, this could be a boon to students. The only book they'd have to buy for any class under a "Conservative" professor would be the King James Bible.

  9. BlueCatBlueCat says:

    Somehow I doubt there are hordes of potential conservative liberal arts profs lined up and being kept out by their ideology.  This is another bogus issue like the threat of massive voting fraud. But, hey, if the conservatives want affirmative action, fine by me, as long as they aren't teaching ideology as science and such. Just let them all shut up about being against affirmative action.

    • JeffcoBlueJeffcoBlue says:

      Like everything else, it's affirmative action for me, not for thee. They don't have to justify any of their contradictions apparently.

      • Curmudgeon says:

        Republicans are immune to cognitive dissonance. They can actually say things like, "I've been on Food Stamps and Welfare, and did anyone help me out? No."   and not have their little heads explode.

         

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