How Administrations Undermine Their Faculties

the fall of the faculty.jpgIt’s no secret that America’s colleges and universities have become bastions of political rectitude. This is often attributed to the left-liberal political orientation of the faculty. Typically, however, the administration, not the faculty, is the driving force behind efforts to promote campus diversity, to build multicultural programming and to regulate campus speech.  The president of the University of Rochester, for example, recently announced a 31-point “diversity plan” saying that diversity was a “fundamental value” of his university.

What accounts for the solicitude shown by university administrators for this progressive political agenda?  The chief reason is that a pitched battle for control of the university is under way, and by championing left-liberal causes administrators hope to bolster their own power


  • Benjamin Ginsberg

    Benjamin Ginsberg is the David Bernstein Professor of Political Science and Chair of the Hopkins Center for Advanced Governmental Studies in Washington, DC.

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8 thoughts on “How Administrations Undermine Their Faculties

  1. Overlooked in article & comments is the force multiplier for this diversity campaign; ambitious faculty. They, plus the administration people, plus those who benefit from the special treatment form a classic “iron triangle” (Friedman, M.)

  2. Let me suggest another factor for why administrators lead the charge for diversity.As salaries for administrators increase, being PC smooths the path to even greater compensation. Hard to imagine moving to the top rank without having one’s PC credentials in order since campus “victim groups” usually exercise veto power over these appointments. And, for good measure, being PC is far easier than real accomplishment. One simply announces “one’s commitment” and that’s that.

  3. Professor Ginsberg has hit the nail precisely on the head. My perspective is as an outsider, peering into the academy when representing students and faculty who have a legitimate grievance that their liberty has been infringed. I find that these disputes are rarely handled by faculty, and that the mid-level administrators have taken over. As such, rational principles are out the window, and ideology reigns supreme. There is no such thing as evidence, hard facts, with which one defends oneself. Instead, one has to plead guilty and commit oneself, in the future, to diversity and inclusion, whereupon probation rather than expulsion is the penalty. It is the administrative state run wild. HARVEY A. SILVERGLATE, TRIAL ATTORNEY AND AUTHOR, CO-FOUNDER AND CURRENT CHAIRMAN OF THE FOUNDATION FOR INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS IN EDUCATION.

  4. @dismalist. The quotas ensured that only the most competent Jewish student were admitted. The merely “competent” Jewish students didn’t make the cut; while, at the same time, plenty of merely “competent” WASPs were admitted.
    The misogynist hiring practices of the past not only kept the merely “competent” females off the tenure-track, they also kept many of the superbly competent females off the tenure track. The same can be said for many minority faculty members in the bad old days.

  5. I’m old enough to remember when Ivy League colleges had quotas on the number of Jewish students admitted as undergraduates. When I received my Ph.D. in physics from Penn my Ph.D. adviser, Sherman Frankel, warned me about the anti-Semitic hiring practices of Yale University, which I was considering at the time.
    I also remember when such august institutions as Caltech refused to hire female faculty members in many of its divisions. This included the case of world-renowned Olga Tauski Todd who was denied a tenure-track position in mathematics there for decades, even though her husband who was not nearly as talented a mathematician was hired into a tenure-track position.
    Perhaps attempts at diversity and inclusion have some merit, and should not be decried out-of-hand.

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