Mark Mercer writes for the Martin Center about a disturbing trend within higher education linked to claims about racism.

During the last year, many universities throughout North America have declared “anti-racism” to be their official policy. …

… I stand against a strong tide, then, when I say that universities should not involve themselves in any anti-racism initiatives at all. It is not the business of a university to combat racism or to call it out or to promote racial justice or harmony.

In fact, enlisting itself in anti-racist struggles cannot but turn a university away from its academic mission.

But surely, one might counter, racism both outside and within the university has hindered the advance of research and prevented students and scholars from reaching their potential. It is the business of a university to promote research and learning and to create conditions under which scholars and students can engage in their academic pursuits pleasantly and productively. Racism, then, affects the university at the heart of its mission. That is why anti-racism is indeed the university’s business.

To respond to that objection, let me remind us that the point of the university as an institution is to protect and promote academic endeavors. The university should use its resources to support the academic mission of investigating, interpreting, and evaluating the things of the world.

These resources should be distributed fairly and on academic criteria alone. Since race is not an academic criterion, it should not be used in deciding resource allocation.

My key thought in rejecting anti-racist initiatives is that to distribute resources on any grounds other than academic need or merit is for the institution itself to rank a non-academic value or end above its academic mission. If any institution wishes to hobble itself, no better way exists than for it to prefer extraneous ends to its own proper ones.

To distribute resources fairly according to academic criteria is to be entirely blind to race.