Politicians Push Professors Leftward

Another wacky idea from California: forcing teachers in the state university system to provide some form of social service as a condition of achieving tenure. Assembly Bill 2132, which passed in the legislature and is now awaiting  Governor Jerry Brown’s signature, “encourages” the independent University of California to include a demonstration of “service” in its evaluations for the hiring, promotion and granting of tenure to teachers.

Dan Walters of the Sacramento Bee writes that “The specifics of Assembly Bill 2132 appear to give great weight to political or at least semi-political activities favored by those on the political left. They include, in the words of a legislative bill analysis, ‘developing programs for underserved populations’ and ‘outreach programs developed to promote cultural diversity in the student body.'” Walters wonders whether researchers working on a cure for breast cancer will be pushed to spend time on service that pleases the legislature.

Add this to the long list of attempts to politicize higher education, from the recent move at UCLA to approve advocacy in classrooms to the battles in teachers’ colleges to require students to display the proper “disposition” (i.e., political principles of the left) before graduating. Anything but actual education.


  • John Leo

    John Leo is the editor of Minding the Campus, dedicated to chronicling imbalances within higher education and restoring intellectual pluralism to our American universities. His popular column, "On Society," ran in U.S.News & World Report for 17 years.

3 thoughts on “Politicians Push Professors Leftward

  1. Ha ha. Name one campus – I dare you, dear reader – where “developing programs for underserved populations” and “outreach programs developed to promote cultural diversity in the student body” couldn’t be met by serving as faculty advisor to the school’s College Republicans chapter or the conservative student-run alternative campus newspaper?

  2. I have a recommendation:
    As a condition for tenure, they should have been required, over the previous ten years’ time, to have given as high a percentage of their pre-tax income to charities/churches/needy as conservatives typically do (which is to say, about 6.5%).
    Since professors getting tenure in a university have tended to be leftists; and,
    Since left-wingers in the United States typically give about 2.2% of their income to charity (and also give blood less, volunteer in the community less, and work in emergency responder roles less), chances are slim that the usual cohort of leftist academics would turn out to qualify.
    But the right-leaning professors, to the extent that they’re representative of right-leaning behavior overall, would usually qualify.
    I can see this helping to even out the political distribution in academia over time — no small thing!
    But it would also force the leftists on campus, who’re typically every bit as stingy as Scrooge with their almsgiving, to actually experience being generous to the needy for a change. With their own money.
    (You know, like people on the right typically are.)

  3. This is where all the SCOTUS decisions on church and state could become interesting — if one alleges that some of this gets really close to a religious belief (and it does), at what point have they crossed the line into religious tests for public office?

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