I have to give some credit to the University of Colorado at Boulder. In 2007, they fired Ward Churchill, and now they want to create a Visiting Chair in Conservative Thought and Policy. Unfortunately, their motives are so transparent that they're being criticized by liberals and conservatives alike. Here are excerpts from the two places I saw this story today:
The University of Colorado - which has a very liberal reputation - is still looking for a conservative professor to counterbalance the campus' leftist slant. A local TV station reports the university has raised only $575,000 of the $9 million needed to fund a "visiting chair in conservative thought and policy." The effort is taking hits from both sides. One Republican on the regents board says the professor would be a token.
The president of the school's College Democrats, Jesse Jensen, says, "The entire concept... politicizes academics in a way that is contrary to the university's mission... by endowing a chair in one specific political ideology, we are not promoting intellectual diversity."
But Ken Bickers, a political science professor, says, "I think the idea behind this chair is that this university has lots and lots of liberals and not a lot of conservatives."
The kicker was this one, which I actually read earlier in the day, from the NY Post's "Weird But True" section:
The University of Colorado in Boulder is trying to tip the scales back to "fair and balanced" by creating an endowment for a Visiting Chair in Conservative Thought and Policy.
The effort has raised more than a few wails of complaint from the liberal student body.
A school spokesman says the professor does not necessarily have to be a conservative.
"We have French teachers who aren't from France," he said.
There you have it, in a nutshell. The liberal administrators at Boulder see conservatism as something akin to a foreign language, or culture, that can be analyzed and taught by a sufficiently "open minded" liberal professor. It looks like there are no takers from the liberal ranks, either, at this point. Perhaps the spokesman was just "floating a trial balloon," to see how it goes over. So far, not so good.
Ward Churchill took his obsession with the plight of "Native Americans" (formerly known as "American Indians") to extremes that disgraced the UCB. Now, they're just making fools of themselves, which is why no-one wants to take this job. Maybe Prof. Churchill can come back, and share his insights into "conservative media attacks." Probably not.
Conservatives on college campuses are definitely an "oppressed minority," but they should have no interest in submitting to the "diversity spoils" system, which they have railed against for so long. Conversely, I can see this as using liberal policies against the liberal establishment, which might let conservative professors "come out of the closet," and encourage liberal students to take conservative opinions seriously. (Hope and change, folks!)
Stories like this remind me that conservatism still has some influence in America, even as liberals occupy all three the three most powerful positions in the US government (or will, next week). I look forward to being the "opposition" again. Of course, we've had a Democrat majority in Congress since '06, so I've had some practice. I take comfort knowing that somewhere, some liberal in Colorado is blaming all this all on Pres. Bush and Fox News.