Many conservatives have long complained about the “liberal propaganda” rampant on college campuses. They are furious with the very concept of safe spaces. They rage at the idea of professors “indoctrinating” their students. They cheered Abigail Fisher for standing up to affirmative action when her spot at the University of Texas was “stolen” from her by a minority.
Iowa Republican Senator Mark Chelgren has recently introduced a bill to create “partisan balance” on Iowa campuses. This means that if a new candidate would “cause the percentage of the faculty belonging to one political party to exceed by 10 percent” the percentage of faculty belonging to another political party, that candidate could not be hired.
To assist with the process, Chelgren suggested Iowa’s state election commissioner provide campuses with the voting data of every professor in order to ascertain their political leanings. The party of small government!
Iowa is not the only state that is trying to make sure enough conservatives or Republicans are teaching our college students. North Carolina recently introduced a bill requiring the political make-up of tenured professors to “have a faculty ideological balance of greater or less than 2 percent of the ideological balance” of North Carolina residents as a whole. North Carolina is a state that celebrates Confederate Flag Day every March 5, so that should be easy enough!
This is essentially affirmative action for Republicans. A party that has historically fought affirmative action now wants the same type of system applied to them for “ideological diversity.” It’s a neat concept because it allows you to roll your eyes at protestors worried for their basic human rights while also complaining that nobody takes your desire to not serve gay weddings because of Jesus seriously.
It also misses a serious point: Affirmative action was put in place because skin color doesn’t affect your ability to teach, but people of color were not given the same opportunities because of the color of their skin. Because of how we have historically treated minorities, there are often more obstacles to get to the same place. This is simply not applicable to political party affiliation. Nobody has ever been denied a loan because they identified as Republicans.
There are so many classes that have absolutely nothing to do with politics, and political affiliation has absolutely no effect on the subject matter. A bill like this seeks only to divide our country more and create and even more toxic era of partisanship than the one we’re currently seeing.
There is merit to having a bigger conservative voice on college campuses. College students should be exposed to several different schools of thought on a variety of subjects. However, if Republicans are seriously interested in appealing to college campuses, maybe for starters, stop denying climate change. Stop purposefully misunderstanding history by referring to Democrats as the “Party of the KKK.”
Stop proudly wearing anti-intellectualism as a badge of honor.
Featured image: Mark Chelgren (NBC News)