by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The Martin Center has asked a half dozen experts to offer ideas about reducing the politicization of American college campuses. Here’s how the higher education watchdog group leads into the discussion.
The politicization of higher education is a huge societal problem. Even though there is an overwhelming consensus that universities’ ultimate purpose should be a search for the truth and that it is imperative that inquiry and dialogue be kept free and open, this is increasingly not the case. In many departments, acknowledged communists outnumber registered Republicans. Speakers who dissent from the campus orthodoxy are routinely shouted down or chased off campus, faculty hiring committees weed out all dissent, left-wing dogma makes its way into classrooms, and administrations seem increasingly hesitant to resist academia’s most vocal and radical voices.
But that doesn’t mean we have to submit to this assault on the open society. There are also hopeful signs: state legislatures are enacting laws that guarantee free speech and freedom of association, a wide variety of organizations have emerged to combat politicization, and campus goings-on are coming under greater public scrutiny. It may be that the politicization of academia is bottoming out.
And it certainly can’t hurt to keep the pressure on to restore open dialogue and the pursuit of truth.