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Archive for May 14th, 2008

Now, affirmative action based on political ideology!

The University of Colorado is considering a $9 million program to bring high-profile political conservatives to teach on the left-leaning campus.

CU officials want to create an endowment for a Visiting Chair in Conservative Thought and Policy.

The program would bring a rotating cast of scholars, historians, politicians and media personalities to a town often ridiculed by the political right as “the People’s Republic of Boulder.”

The first scholar could be on campus next year for a one- or two-year stint, CU spokesman Bronson Hilliard said. University officials said they hope the fund would yield the $200,000-plus per year necessary to provide a stipend and a staff person.

“A good campus is always trying to find ways to add diversity of thought and scholarship,” Hilliard said.

I can’t think of anything more ridiculous or unhelpful, but then, affirmative action is almost always unhelpful. I only hope this does not give Arjun Singh any new ideas.

Hat tip to the Volokh Conspiracy, where I saw this story. Also Ilya Somin discusses here why affirmative action based on ideology is a bad idea. An excerpt:

However, whether or not the discrimination is the cause of the problem, affirmative action for conservative academics (or libertarian ones) is a poor solution. Among other things, it would require universities to define who counts as a “conservative” for affirmative action purpose, a task that they aren’t likely to do well. Affirmative action for conservatives would also give job candidates an incentive to engage in deception about their views in the hopes of gaining professional advancement. Moreover, conservative professors hired on an affirmative basis despite inferior qualifications would find it difficult to get their ideas taken seriously by colleagues and students. They might therefore be unable to make a meaningful contribution to academic debate – the very reason why we want to promote ideological diversity in hiring to begin with.

Indeed.

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