An American growth industry

Yale Daily News columnist James Kirchick provides a case study of what George Will calls “America’s campus-based indignation industry.” Kirchick writes:

The diversity movement reached its height last academic year when Yale declined to renew the contract of Dr. Connie Allen, then a lecturer in Yale’s chemistry department, due to budgetary constraints. Most important to this story is that Allen happens to be a black woman. Criticizing Yale’s racist patriarchy, the Undergraduate Organizing Committee, GESO and Allen ignited a small controversy (featuring, of course, an unannounced visit to the provost’s office) that lasted a few weeks into the summer until Allen left for a job at Mount Holyoke.
Contrast these efforts with the reaction following the denial of tenure to Mary Habeck, a popular professor of American and European military history, in April 2004, just about the same time Allen made her case public. Not a peep of protest was heard from Locals 34 and 35, GESO, the UOC, Mayor DeStefano or anyone else claiming to be concerned about diversity, and this lack of outcry underscores the intellectual hollowness of these groups’ entire agenda. Why no outrage? Well, for one, Habeck’s skin pigmentation is not the proper hue. Equally considerable is the fact that she teaches the “wrong” sort of history, that is, the type dominated by dead white men and peppered with tropes of “elitism.” Had Habeck decided to instead specialize in the communal agricultural practices of transgendered Native Americans in pre-colonial America, there is little doubt that those currently barging into various administrators’ offices would have done the same for her last April. At the very least, Habeck would have secured a visiting professorship with the Larry Kramer Initiative for Gay and Lesbian Studies.
What is more troubling than any of the issues raised by activists is the fact that at an institution that claims to foster a diverse academic environment, 93 percent of Yale faculty political donations for the 2004 presidential race went to the Democratic candidate. Real “diversity” is intellectual diversity, and Yale should hire faculty and accept graduate students solely on the basis of their ideas and scholarship, not their skin color or genitalia. There is nothing wrong with aggressively recruiting minority candidates to study and teach at Yale, but the diversity cops are demanding a racial quota system in which physical traits trump all. Their agenda and the way that they are pushing it embodies the very sort of discrimination they claim to be fighting.

Kirkchick’s column is “Calls for ‘diversity’ don’t hold up under scrutiny.”
DEACON adds: Things don’t seem to any better at Dartmouth, where the three of us went to college. Via Instapundit.


Books to read from Power Line