Robert Spaulding writes for the Martin Center about the health of liberal-arts education at one Minnesota campus.

Macalester College is a small (2,000-plus students), highly regarded, and very selective liberal arts college in St. Paul, Minnesota. It is proud of its liberal reputation and international outlook, and touts as past faculty vice presidents Hubert Humphrey and Walter Mondale, as well as undergraduate Kofi Anan, previous head of the United Nations. Macalester boasts a student to faculty ratio of 10:1, an average class size of 17, and ranks 26th-best among liberal arts colleges according to U.S. News and World Report.

Yet on a recent visit to the school, this Macalester alum discovered troubling evidence that should challenge that ranking. …

… The discussion group that I led, with alumni attendees of widely varying political leanings, were in general agreement that yes, Macalester students, faculty, and administrators are, and always have been, “progressive.” The evidence I presented of a leftist monoculture was not challenged, but its insidious impact was eloquently articulated by one person in particular.

Jed graduated in May and studied economics/political science. He grew up on a farm, played sports at Macalester, and graduated with honors. He said many students are afraid to speak freely in class to express conservative views and the few who do have experienced “put downs” by the majority in class discussions. Some are afraid their grades will be affected by revealing such views. As a result, free and open debate is stifled. He also stated some acquaintances “defriended” him once they learned he voted Republican.

As a Macalester graduate who treasures the classical liberal arts education I received, I despair at this lack of free and open inquiry.