Blogs > Cliopatria > More Alma Materdoxy ...

Mar 8, 2004 9:17 pm

More Alma Materdoxy ...

Following the controversy about intellectual diversity at Duke, my alma mater, the University sponsored a panel discussion featuring university faculty and administrators. One of them candidly observed that"every conservative faculty member recommended for [tenure] by the literature department has been tenured. That's also true of every unicorn and every talking dog. . . ." Full transcripts and audio excerpts of the discussion are here. But after all the affirmative action sturm und drang, the panel doesn't even look very diverse. Thanks to Instapundit for the pointer.
Update: The Duke Conservative Union replies to the University's reactions.
Further update: It's Kevin Drum at Calpundit v Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit.
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Oscar Chamberlain - 3/8/2004

See where the unthinking use of gender neutral language will get you?

About where I am now. Touche'

Michael C Tinkler - 3/7/2004

Let me hasten to say that I am NOT one of the conservative professors who wants protection -- but that once you drag my parents we have to carry on the discussion.

I understand how women scholars have been ghettoized (and that Duke picture points out that even white female scholars still don't get to discuss Duke's practice of diversity in representative numbers) but really now! My colleagues in graduate school were a remarkably homogenous crew socio-economically and I, with my professor father and university administrator mother was about in the middle. How were my female graduate school colleagues' PARENTS ghettoized?

Ralph E. Luker - 3/7/2004

Like you, I assume, Oscar, I am opposed to any artificial mandates to diversify the academy intellectually. I've simply called for good faith efforts by departments and institutions to insure that there are healthy intellectual dialogues going on within academic communities. It did and does occur to me that at the end of several decades of focus on diversifying the community in terms of race, ethnicity, and gender, it simply is odd to field a panel of faculty members to take about intellectual diversity which doesn't represent the fruit of gender/ethnic diversity. I think it is quite likely that more women and "minority" faculty members at Duke might have some very interesting things to say about intellectual diversity.

Oscar Chamberlain - 3/7/2004

Ralph and Michael

A fair rejoinder. It does seem that many of the ways that university diversity has been brought up lately have tended to emphasize the absurdity that can result.

However, the concern for racial, ethnic, and gender diversity began from a very real legal and cultural ghettoization of different groups. That the walls of these ghettoes were not always physical but still very real is the source of the dilemma and so of the absurdity. It's simply harder to prescribe remedies in that situation.

Conservatives have been treated unfairly on some campuses, and that is wrong. But I don't think their lives, or the lives of their parents, were ghettoized in any way.

And to equate the two--as some have done--by calling for similar remedies strikes me as not quite honest. Hence my perhaps unfair irritation above.

Ralph E. Luker - 3/7/2004

I hadn't suggested it, Oscar, but my alma mater has made diversity of ethnicity and gender something of a fetish. Given that history, it's just a little odd that it comes up with a panel of 5 white males and 1 white female to talk about intellectual diversity.

Oscar Chamberlain - 3/7/2004

"The panel doesn't look much like America at all."

Are you suggesting racial quotas until they do "look" like America?

Michael C Tinkler - 3/6/2004

I'm glad you pointed out the way in which the panel doesn't look much like America at all.

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