Colleges that preach diversity tend to practice anything but on their campuses today.
Considering the American flag blackened in the pursuit of “art,” a college dean’s apology for his conservative friend, and a school’s reportedly “fixing” “privilege” and “marginalization,” American higher education these days is harder and harder to recognize.
The latest example comes from Virginia. Two University of Virginia (UVA) history professors have resigned from that school’s “nonpartisan” Miller Center to protest the hiring of Trump administration official Marc Short.
UVA is based in Charlottesville, Virginia, where white nationalists clashed with counterprotesters last August, killing a 32-year-old woman and injuring 19 others.
Short serves as White House director of legislative and intergovernmental affairs and is an assistant to President Donald Trump.
In a letter to William J. Antholis, director and CEO of the Miller Center, history professors William Hitchcock and Melvyn Leffler announced their resignation from the program following the appointment of Short as a senior fellow.
Why? Because Short’s appointment offends Hitchcock and Leffler’s liberal sensibilities.
If so, this is all the more the reason why they — as educators — should step beyond their liberal bubble instead of stepping away from an opportunity to work beside someone with viewpoint diversity; our democracy depends on it.
Hitchcock posted the resignation letter early last week on Twitter with the following tweet: “I resigned from a think tank at UVA today because I felt it betrayed its principles in giving a senior fellowship to Trump [adviser] Marc Short. It is a sad day for me, but I’ll continue to work at UVA with brilliant colleagues in the cause of civil discourse.”
I resigned from a think tank at UVa today because I felt it betrayed its principles in giving a senior fellowship to Trump advisor Marc Short. It is a sad day for me but I’ll continue to work at UVa with brilliant colleagues in the cause of civil discourse. pic.twitter.com/HsH1pw2hXK
— William Hitchcock (@WillHitchUVA) July 30, 2018
In other words, he’ll engage in “civil discourse” only with folks who think the way he does.
To be clear, Hitchcock and Leffler are tenured professors. They’re not stepping down from their professorships, only from their responsibilities at the Miller Center, though it’s not clear what those responsibilities are.
Could their public virtue-signaling, then, be much ado about nothing?
Additionally, Short’s appointment is a one-year fellowship only, not a faculty position. LifeZette reached out to UVA Communications and also to the Miller Center for clarity, but did not receive a response by publication time.
In their subject area — history — liberal professors outnumber conservative professors by a ratio of 33.5 to one on college campuses nationwide, according to the 2016 Klein Study, meaning their opinions often go unchallenged.
Now they’re aiming to pass themselves off as martyrs for pushing back against a Trump appointee, claiming in their resignation letter that “democracy in the United States is in peril.”
They fail to acknowledge that President Trump was democratically elected by the American people in November 2016. And despite their disdain for Short, he’s garnered sterling endorsements from colleagues across the aisle.
“Marc is a true professional who believes that the system works best when it brings together voices from across the political spectrum,” wrote L. F. Payne, former Democratic congressman from Charlottesville and a member of the Miller Center’s governing council, as noted on the center’s website.
“It is particularly important that, at a moment of intense political polarization, we try to better understand one another’s viewpoints and, if possible, work to bridge our political divide,” said William Antholis, director and CEO of the Miller Center since 2015, on the center’s website.
The resignations by Hitchcock and Leffler encapsulate what educator Jordan Peterson, the author of “12 Rules for Life,” preaches against: political correctness and Leftist campus extremism. Peterson is a University of Toronto professor, a clinical psychologist, and a conservative.
Peterson warned parents in a recent interview with Fox News that, increasingly, students are being taught by ideologues, not educators, from elementary school through the college level.
“If you’re a taxpayer or paying for your kid’s liberal arts degree, you’re underwriting this gang of nihilists, he noted. “You’re supporting ideologues who claim that all truth is subjective, that all sex differences are socially constructed, and that western imperialism is the sole source of all Third World problems.”
Elizabeth Economou is a former CNBC staff writer and adjunct professor. Follow her on Twitter.